UK Government invites companies to join £125m challenge to develop the ‘future of flight’


The UK Government and Innovate UK detailed how due to new technologies revolutionising aviation, it is inviting companies to get involved in a £125m challenge to help develop the future of flight.

Individuals from businesses and research organisations with an interest in the field are invited to apply to attend a workshop to develop ideas to meet the challenges posed by future flight.

The invitation is the first phase of a £125 million government investment in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Future Flight Challenge.

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It will then be matched by a £175 million investment from industry.

It described how the project could help to power a new generation of flying taxis, drones delivering goods and services and small, all-electric aircraft.

The aim of the Future Flight Challenge is to demonstrate innovative ways to achieve greener flight, new services and ways to travel, increased mobility, better connectivity and reduced congestion.

Individuals applying to attend the 2-day workshop in February 2020 can come from a wide range of disciplines.

Applicants must show how they would attempt to solve one or more of 6 problem statements:

  • the full range of drone applications is stifled by the absence of the physical and data infrastructures needed to exploit the potential of the global market
  • current air traffic management systems are not scalable
  • there is a need to develop autonomy while maintaining high levels of safety
  • there is a need to move towards more electric flight by moving technology between urban, sub-regional vehicles and larger aircraft
  • there is a need to develop use cases and operational frameworks for the adoption of autonomous air vehicles
  • there is no aviation innovation or development environment that will allow real-life demonstration and evaluation of the issues presented in the first 5 problem statements

The aim of the discovery workshop is to help participants form consortia that will apply for funding in future phases of the competition.

The phase one discovery workshop will be held in Birmingham from 4-5 February 2020 where no grant funding is available but costs will be covered.

The application for this is open and closes on 13 November 2019 and is open to UK businesses and research and technology organisations.

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Alex Douglas

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