UK government announces £125m clean flight tech investment

Out-Law News | 28 Aug 2019 | 9:19 am |

The UK government has announced investment of £125 million in the development of more environmentally friendly aviation technology, such as electric planes and freight-carrying drones.

The government is to provide £125m of funding, supported by co-investment from industry of up to £175m, into new technology designed to develop cleaner aviation technology.
Meanwhile five new transport research networks at universities including Birmingham, Leeds, Durham, Cardiff and London will receive £5m for work developing cleaner forms of fuel and other innovations to reduce emissions and improve air quality. The funding has been awarded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

UK Research and Innovation will deliver the ‘Future of Flight Challenge’, and those taking part will initially focus on smaller aircraft and drones to ensure the suitability of the new technologies before developing them for larger passenger aircraft. The first challenge, asking for concept studies, will open on 30 September 2019.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the funding would demonstrate the UK’s position as a transport innovator.

“New technologies like electric and autonomous aircraft can help us tackle climate change, making journeys greener and working better for passengers,” Shapps said.

The investment follows a report published last year by industry body techUK, which said technology such as cloud computing, 5G, data analytics and artificial intelligence could change the way transport infrastructure and services were used, but that the change needed to be supported by changes in regulation.