The British government has set aside £33 million (~$43 million) in funding to be spent on firefighting and COVID delivery drones as a part of a ground-breaking aviation project to solve major global challenges. So far, 20 winning ideas have been funded by the UK government.

For the 20 winning ideas chosen so far, they will receive a share of £7 million (~$9 million) to develop them further and get them flying sooner.

The drone projects chosen range from COIVD-related delivery drones all the way to drones allowing remote inspections of infrastructure and construction sites.

Nine of the 20 projects are focusing on drone-related solutions to the pandemic, delivering medicines by air and reducing human-to-human contact in the process.

Business and Industry Minister, Nadhim Zahawi said:

As the UK leads the way in the aviation revolution, these bold proposals showcase the pioneering spirit of the UK’s aerospace and aviation industries in solving global issues, and those facing us here in the UK.

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean followed with:

The UK is already a world-leader when it comes to innovation in aviation and this funding will allow us to carry on supporting the extraordinary work taking place right across the country.

The projects include:

  • Dock-to-Dock, based in Cardiff, which is developing a pilot project to deliver goods between Bristol and Cardiff using a hydrogen-powered electric aircraft.
  • NAPKIN, based in Greater London, which focuses on paving the way for low and zero carbon short-haul flights for passengers around the UK.
  • APIAN Limited, based in Essex, is creating and building a drone to deliver medical supplies like COVID-19 blood and swab tests between NHS hospitals and labs in response to the pandemic, protecting key NHS staff and the wider public from coronavirus transmission.
  • The Light Aircraft Company Ltd, based in Norfolk, will integrate electric propulsion into existing aircraft to enable electric flight of small aircraft.
  • Windracers Distributed Avionics, based in Southampton and Bristol, will develop swarming technology, an approach to coordinate multiple robots, to allow multiple drones to fly in close formations and work together to provide humanitarian aid or fight fires.
  • Droneprep Ltd, Consortiq Limited and Windracers Limited, based in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, will use unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver critical PPE and COVID-19 testing kits to vulnerable, rural communities in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Photo: Sorasak

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