UK Government Spends $273 Million on Drones, Hydrogen Planes, and Flying Taxis

Published on: 18 July 2022
by KnowESG
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The UK government has announced a £273 million funding package for its aerospace industry to invest in cutting-edge technology, including solar-powered planes, flying taxis, and drones carrying medical treatments.

The funding aims to increase employment and innovation in the sector and was announced by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng at the Farnborough International Airshow.

Kwarteng said: “Through funding for the latest in green technology, such as solar and hydrogen-powered aircraft, and setting out our vision for the fast-growing market for commercial drones, we are once again placing the aerospace sector directly at the centre of our plans to deliver jobs and grow the economy.”

A total of £155 million of the funds will be used for green aerospace innovation, including battery and hydrogen technology.

£105.5 million of the investment will be used to support initiatives that are creating new air transportation systems and vehicle technologies through the Future Flight Challenge. The government estimates that the projects might generate up to 8,800 jobs.

Following the proposal, the UK will also construct a 164-mile automated drone superhighway within the next two years, linking Cambridge and Rugby.

With the NHS starting experiments to deliver chemotherapy medicines by drone in an Isle of Wight trial, Britain's skies have become more congested. 

While 50 additional postal drone routes will be introduced by the Royal Mail over the next three years, Skyports is testing the delivery of school meals by air.

Through the Regulators' Pioneer Fund, an additional £12 million is being made available to assist programmes that will "unlock industries of the future through regulation."

Robert Courts, transport minister, said: “The steps we have set out today will ensure our aviation sector remains world-leading and fit for the future, helping to deliver on our ambitious climate change goals and boost high-skilled job opportunities.”

Flying taxis have long been the stuff of science fiction. However, recent advances in electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) technology have resulted in a handful of startups vying to bring intra-city air transport to market.

These firms regularly communicate with the authorities, and yesterday Joby Aviation Inc., a flying taxi company located in California, applied for certification to export its eVTOLs to the UK.

British flying taxi startup Autonomous Flight announced opening a $100 million Series C investment in December last year.

Source: UK Tech News

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