Connected Placed Catapult Accelerating Through Innovation

Connected Places Catapult has been at the fore in accelerating market opportunities in positioning UK aviation innovators to seize emerging opportunities for unmanned air mobility. Working with industry, academia, Government and regulators, we have focussed on creating the regulatory, ethical and logistical conditions which will enable the market to develop rapidly and safely, allowing future aerial vehicles to operate – from light delivery drones to the six-seater flying taxis being prototyped by the likes of Vertical Aerospace and Airbus.

We are bringing together a national and international consortium to develop a world leading Open-Access UTM framework for drones. The project, commissioned by the Department for Transport, will continue laying the groundwork for a safe flying environment for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations in the UK, enabling efficient sharing of airspace with manned aircraft and Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations of drones.

There is a huge global opportunity for countries that can successfully accommodate commercial drone operations, it’s thought the sector could be worth £127bn globally. UTM is recognised as a key enabler to address the safe and efficient integration of unmanned vehicles into the airspace and Connected Places Catapult in collaboration with AiRXOS (part of GE Aviation), Altitude Angel, ANRA Technologies, Collins Aerospace and Wing will work towards the first set of the safe and regulated UTM capabilities this year.

Our research and development project will create principal architectural features, communications interfaces and key services that will be evaluated through simulations before progressing to field-trials. The trial will build on existing platforms and standards to create a developmental system to explore UTM and drone operations, as well as identifying the next research steps and facilitating knowledge transfer to government and industry.