Future flight challenge

City scene with aerial vehicles

This challenge is investing up to £125 million to develop greener ways to fly, such as all-electric aircraft and deliveries by drone, by advancing electric and autonomous flight technologies. The investment is matched by £175 million from industry.

The challenge aims to bring together technologies in electrification, aviation systems and autonomy to create new modes of air travel and capability. It will:

  • create the aviation system of the future
  • increase mobility, improve connectivity and reduce congestion for people across the UK
  • advance electric and autonomous flight technologies to help the UK reach its net zero target
  • drive technology investment to the UK by increasing UK manufacturing and service opportunities.

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Funded and announced projects

Projects funded so far include:

  • using drones to support the NHS and emergency services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • investing in the future of air mobility and technologies that will allow full electric flight in the UK
  • addressing challenges for the wider aviation system that new aircraft will operate within, including key infrastructure and air traffic management
  • investigating the use of hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel source for future aircraft and understanding the infrastructure requirements
  • a ‘pop-up airport’ project that will create the world’s smallest airports that can be deployed for example to support disaster emergencies.

Last updated: 14 March 2022

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