Cranfield University and Thales are to work closely in partnership to unlock the potential of new aviation technologies.
The UK government’s recent Aerospace Sector Deal highlighted the national potential in developing future aviation technology, with a previous study by PwC revealing that drone technology has the potential to increase UK GDP by 2 per cent by 2030.
The agreement will see the two organisations explore closer collaboration in areas such as: unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and unmanned traffic management (UTM), aerial and ground autonomous systems, airspace data communications and digital aviation security.
Victor Chavez, chief executive, Thales UK, said: “We are in the midst of a digital transformation in the aviation sector. Thales is at the leading edge of this change with Cranfield University as a critical academic partner. Together, we will develop pioneering technologies and innovate to drive sustainable aviation, including entirely new air transport systems and enhanced passenger experience. Our agreement with Cranfield University today opens the door to the next era of digital aviation.”
The two organisations are already working closely together, as partners in the £67 million Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) and the National Beyond visual line of sight Experimentation Corridor (NBEC).
DARTeC will address challenges such as:
- The integration of drones into civilian airspace
- Increasing the efficiency of airports through technological advances
- Creating safe, secure shared airspace through secure data communication infrastructures
- Increasing the reliability and availability of aircraft through self-sensing, self-aware technologies
- The National Beyond visual line of sight Experimentation Corridor (NBEC) aims to create an experimentation corridor that will enable drones and unmanned aircraft to fly in the same airspace.
Professor Helen Atkinson FREng pro-vice-chancellor of aerospace, transport systems and manufacturing at Cranfield University, said: “Together with Thales and our partners, Cranfield is at the forefront of helping the UK unlock the potential of digital aviation, through both DARTeC and NBEC. Through this agreement we can further strengthen our collaboration and play a key role in helping realise the ambitions of the Industrial Strategy.”