Farnborough 2022: 17 drone delivery projects feature in GBP73 million UK government grant

The Future Flight Challenge at UK Research and Innovation has announced the 17 projects sharing GBP73 million in funding to develop and demonstrate integrated aviation systems and new vehicle technologies. Working with the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure these technologies are delivered safely and effectively, these projects show the potential societal benefits of these new technologies according to UK Research and Innovation.

Projects include:

  • Using planes powered by hydrogen or electricity to open-up greener regional connectivity across the UK.
  • Open Skies Cornwall, working with Royal Mail and NHS Kernow to provide residents on the Isles of Scilly with regular, reliable drone deliveries of mail and medical supplies.
  • Supporting the NHS across Scotland with the CAELUS 2 project. The project aims to deliver solutions to real-life problems in care delivery by: 1) reducing the time it takes for a sample to get to a laboratory. Leading to quicker clinical decisions and treatment; 2) allowing cancer patients to receive treatment in their local community. Rather than travelling long distances for chemotherapy; and 3) Improving the way surveying of critical infrastructure for example powerlines and railway tracks is carried out.
  • Project SafeZone 3 is making drone flights safer by creating a data service that provides real-time information about aerodynamic hazards in urban environments.
  • Project HADO will evaluate a live 24/7 beyond visual line of sight drone service in the high intensity airspace of Heathrow Airport.

Gary Cutts, Future Flight Challenge Director said: “Over the past few years we’ve seen rapid developments in all aspects of the aviation system. From cutting the length of time someone waits for medicine to arrive, to supplying greener ways to travel, these 17 projects will deliver real benefits to people across the UK. But there is still much to do. By involving public bodies and regulators we aim to resolve these issues in an open and transparent way allowing real-world demonstrations by 2024.”

Full list of funded projects

AgiLe Integrated Airspace System (ALIAS)

Brings together nine highly motivated technology companies to show a scalable and cohesive airspace system for the future. This system will incorporate drones, air taxis and piloted aircraft working in unison to deliver economic and societal benefit for the UK and the Channel Islands.


  • Volant Autonomy Limited
  • TEKTowr Ltd
  • Drone Defence Services Ltd
  • Skyports Deliveries Ltd
  • Ports of Jersey Ltd
  • Adjsoft Limited (DroneCloud)
  • Cambridge Sensoriis Ltd
  • Angoka Limited
  • Sky-Drones Technologies Ltd


CAELUS-2 builds upon the work undertaken in its predecessor CAELUS and aims to demonstrate the operation of a network of multiple electric drones for the distribution of medical products and medicines across Scotland.


  • AGS Airports Limited
  • NHS Scotland
  • NATS
  • University of Strathclyde
  • Connected Places Catapult
  • ANRA Technology
  • Atkins
  • Arup
  • Cellnex Telecom
  • Commonplace Digital
  • DGP Intelsius
  • Dronamics
  • Planefinder
  • Skyports Deliveries Ltd
  • The Drone Office
  • Trax International


Using drones powered by renewable energy sources on a 165-mile superhighway connecting the airspace above cities including Reading, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Coventry, and Rugby. The corridor will enable inspection times of infrastructure to be cut significantly and speed up parcel delivery times from hours to minutes.


  • Altitude Angel
  • Connected Places Catapult
  • HeroTech8
  • BT Group Plc
  • ARPAS-UK Ltd
  • Reading Borough Council
  • Oxfordshire County Council
  • Coventry County Council
  • Angorka Limited
  • Vizgard Limited
  • Skyfarer Limited
  • Skyports Deliveries Ltd

Air Mobility Ecosystem Consortium

Placing the UK at the forefront of Advanced Air Mobility, the project brings together the leading experts of UK aviation to develop and demonstrate end-to-end operations that will drive the development of a commercially viable AAM network in the UK, including demonstration flights between a new Skyports vertiport and London Heathrow and

Bristol airports using Vertical Aerospace’s VX4 eVTOL aircraft, operated by Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited.


  • Atkins Limited
  • Vertical Aerospace Group Ltd
  • Skyports Infrastructure Limited
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited
  • Heathrow Airport
  • London City Airport
  • Bristol Airport
  • NATS
  • Cranfield University
  • The University of Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG)
  • Connected Places Catapult
  • with support from EVE air mobility

Project HEART: Phase 3

Project HEART will revolutionise the operation of regional aircraft networks, initially targeting the 9 to 19 passenger market, with innovations in fuel, propulsion, autonomy, connectivity and operational models and conducting flight trials with automated, SPO aircraft powered by zero-carbon, hydrogen electric systems. Project HEART will provide a holistic operational, infrastructure and technology model that is commercially viable, subsidy-free and environmentally friendly


  • Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd
  • ZeroAvia
  • Britten-Norman
  • Protium Green Solutions
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • LoganAir
  • FOD Mobility
  • HIAL
  • Weston Williamson + Partners
  • RDM Group
  • Mott MacDonald
  • SAAB

InDePTH: Intelligent Drones for Ports and Highways Technology

Using drones to regularly survey wide infrastructure estates, including ports and highways, to create digital models and obtain detailed insight of these dynamic environments.


  • British Telecommunications plc
  • Associated British Ports
  • RoboK
  • Connected Places Catapult
  • Kier Highways

Morecambe Bay Medical Shuttle 2

Using drones to shuttle pathology samples between three hospitals in north west England. These solar charged drones will deliver improved healthcare outcomes to the Morecambe Bay and wider community by speeding up the processing times of samples and reducing C02 emissions.


  • Digital & Future Technologies Limited
  • University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Trust
  • Miralis Data Limited
  • Lancashire Teaching Hospitals

Open Skies Cornwall

Open Skies Cornwall will test the next generation of drones, their infrastructure requirements and enabling technology to serve the NHS, Royal Mail, users of Falmouth Harbour, Cornwall Council and International Humanitarian Medical Logistics providers. The project will implement the DronePrep Drone Delivery Register which will help with planning and building Sky-Highways to connect NHS, Royal Mail, Maritime and Local Authority assets to the People of Cornwall.


  • DronePrep Ltd
  • Cornwall Development
  • Skyports Deliveries Ltd
  • Trust Port: Falmouth Harbour Commissioners
  • Royal Mail Group Limited
  • NHS Kernow Integrated Care Services
  • jHub-Med
  • University Of Southampton
  • Neuron Innovations Ltd
  • TFC Inc. (doing business as The Flight Corp)

Sustainable Aviation Test Environment 2 (SATE 2)

The Sustainable Aviation Test Environment (SATE) is based at Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL)’s Kirkwall Airport in the Orkney Islands. This phase of the project expands on the work of the original project to create a UK Centre for Excellence of Sustainable Aviation Systems.

This will enable SATE to host pre-commercial demonstrations of novel aviation technologies with proven use cases to commercialise clean innovation in a real-world environment. Use cases will include:

  • scheduled airline routes
  • offshore energy services
  • National Health Service activities
  • island and remote region deliveries
  • environmental survey and inspection.

The use case demonstrations will have a positive impact on Island communities. They will improve quality-of-life, and address issues of social exclusion and access deprivation (including access to health services). Within the SATE project and partner organisations, at least 45 new highly skilled jobs will be created.


  • Highlands and Islands Airports Limited
  • The European Marine Energy Centre Ltd
  • Loganair
  • University of the Highlands and Islands
  • Windracers
  • Flare Bright Ltd
  • ZeroAvia
  • Arcadis Consulting (UK) Ltd
  • Connected Places Catapult
  • Orkney Islands Council
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise


This project aims to provide regulators, technology providers and operators with a blueprint for a UK wide rollout of beyond visual line of sight drone operations.


  • Neuron Innovations Ltd
  • Cranfield University
  • University of Southampton
  • Distributed Avionics Ltd
  • Future Aerial Innovations Ltd
  • AdjSoft Ltd
  • Cranfield Airport Operations Ltd
  • Anra Technologies UK Ltd
  • Sky-Drones Technologies Ltd
  • Ebeni Ltd


Evaluating a live 24/7 commercial autonomous beyond visual line of sight drone service in the high intensity airspace of Heathrow Airport. The project will integrate a range of complex technical solutions including airspace management, safety and counter-drone measures with the ultimate aim to demonstrate how drones can operate safely at one of the world’s busiest airports.


  • Operational Solutions Limited
  • Cranfield University
  • Carmenta Technologies Ltd
  • Dynamic Intelligence Solutions Ltd
  • Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd
  • HeroTech8 Ltd
  • Operational Solutions Limited
  • Rinicom Intelligent Solutions Limited
  • Thales UK Ltd
  • UAVTEK Ltd
  • UAVTEK Production Ltd

Atypical Airspace BVLOS Solution (AABS)

sees.ai’s advanced drone system unlocks autonomous flight in industrial environments, at national scale, for the first time. Using one of the world’s most advanced solutions for unmanned flight and data capture at scale. sees.ai’s solution puts remote pilots in charge of connected & autonomous drones. The system is capable of remotely addressing even the most complex, close-quarter missions and can deliver safe & efficient operation of drone fleets at national scale. To help the UK accelerate towards the adoption of autonomy, sees.ai is deploying the technology in industrial environments first – specifically the UK electricity grid and rail network – to demonstrate that the technology is not only exceptional but safe in the eyes of the regulator too (CAA).


  • ai
  • Livelink Aerospace
  • BT
  • Imperial College London
  • National Grid
  • Network Rail
  • ai
  • Across Safety
  • Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Terradrone

Project PORTAL: The infrastructure launchpad for the Future of Flight

Many companies are focused on drones & vehicles, but few companies are looking at the safe control aspects of take-off and landings in a busy or constrained environment. That’s what project PORTAL does. Think Air Traffic Control for drones, but without the pilots. Our software integrates all the hardware and provides the functionality and control for this automated system.


  • ANGOKA Limited
  • Cambridge Sensoriis Ltd
  • Snowdonia Aerospace LLP
  • Auriga Aerospace Ltd
  • University of Bristol

Project SeaWatch: Flexible AI Coastal Monitoring

Sees the fusion of leading-edge unmanned aircraft ‘drones’ and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, paving the way for cheaper, more reliable and accessible improvements in safety at sea and EEZ coastal monitoring, especially in remote and difficult to access areas.


  • Uavaid Limited
  • Archangel Imaging Ltd

Protecting Environments with UAV Swarms

Demonstrating how the Windracers ULTRA and drone swarm technology can be used to conduct environmental protection missions including gathering environmental data in Antarctica and the detection and location of wildfires. SWARM technology allows for extensive coverage and at reduced survey time and human resource. This project will work with the British Antarctic Survey and Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service to develop solutions to meet their challenging use cases. For these operations to scale, the ULTRA platforms need to be operated in large numbers and in difficult environmental conditions. This raises several technological challenges, some of which are centred around navigation, situational awareness, resilience to failures and degraded performance states.


  • Windracers Limited
  • Distributed Avionics Limited
  • Helix Geospace
  • Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service
  • NERC British Antarctic Survey
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Sheffield

SafeZone Phase 3

Investigating localised aerodynamic and meteorological data to allow drones to adapt their route as they fly through wind changes and close to buildings at Cardiff Airport. To create a live data service providing real-time information about aero hazards in the urban landscape – making drone flight more commercially viable and safer.


  • Zenotech
  • Flare Bright
  • Cardiff Airport
  • Cranfield University

FFLIP (Future Flight and Land Infrastructure Programme)

Without the right charging infrastructure in place, electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs) and larger drones cannot become a feasible form of transportation. FFLIP will deliver a full-scale multi-modal demonstration at a site in Oxfordshire, including a 600kW eVTOL charger infrastructure with multiple power configurations to support 24-hour rapid charging of electric ground vehicles, trucks, drones, and eVTOL aircraft.


  • Petalite
  • Custom Interconnect Limited
  • Oxfordshire County Council
  • Midlands Aerospace Alliance
  • Vanti (trading name RTS Technology Solutions Limited)
  • ARC Aero Systems

For more information visit:


Share this:
D-Fend advert. Click for website