Thales expands collaboration with Cranfield University unmanned test site

Thales’ partnership with Cranfield University has grown to include collaboration in areas including unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and unmanned traffic management (UTM), aerial and ground autonomous systems, airspace data communications and digital aviation security. Thales became a partner in the university’s Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) and adjacent National Beyond visual line of sight Experimentation Corridor (NBEC) in mid-2018, as part of a GBP67 million government-sponsored development programme to ‘address the digital aviation challenge’. In this latest development, Thales will look at integration of drones into civilian airspace, secure data communication infrastructures, self-sensing and self-aware technologies. The DARTeC facility is due to open in 2020 and the NBEC aims to provide an experimentation corridor that will enable drones and unmanned aircraft to fly in the same airspace. The corridor will stretch across Bedfordshire from Blue Bear’s headquarters in Oakley to Cranfield University’s airport.

Co-investment support for DARTeC is being provided through a consortium of leading aerospace and aviation companies including Aveillant, Boxarr, the IVHM Centre, Saab and Thales; as well as Research England and Cranfield University. Since its launch the DARTeC consortium has grown to include additional organisations, namely Blue Bear Systems Research, the Connected Places Catapult, IATA and the Satellite Applications Catapult.

(Image: Cranfield University)

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