Heathrow announced on 18th February 2021 that the airport has successfully pitched two forward-thinking ideas to Innovate UK’s Future Flight Challenge. This allows the airport to research on new concepts that help to reduce emissions, cut costs and improve the airport’s efficiency.
The two successful projects being researched by Heathrow are:
- Fly2Plan – Aims to learn how new technologies such as cloud infrastructure and blockchain could use the airport’s data more efficiently, creating a decentralised, resilient and efficient operating model to support cross-company collaboration. The concept has the potential to unlock opportunities for new entrants, cut costs and safely allow autonomous drone operators to maximise their use of UK airspace.
- Project NAPKIN – Which stands for New Aviation Propulsion Knowledge and Innovation Network, sets out to develop a blueprint that could be used to help make zero carbon aviation a reality across the UK. This idea could boost domestic connectivity and position the UK as a world leader in sustainable aviation.
Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye said:
“Heathrow has always served as a testbed for ground-breaking green technologies. These concepts go further than ever before, with the potential to transform the role that aviation plays in Britain’s economy.”
The Future Flight Challenge, which is funded through £125 million of government grants, has three overarching objectives, safeguarding the UK’s advantage in aerospace research and development, reducing aviation emissions and creating economic opportunities from new forms of air mobility.
Heathrow has kicked-off the first stage of the research of these concepts, which is set to take place through till early 2022. In the next phase, live demonstrations of these concepts will occur with the long-term aim of wider adoption across the aviation industry. The hub airport is working with several groups across a number of sectors to bring this challenge to life including Oxford University, Cranfield University, Kings College London, NATS, SITA, Rolls Royce, University of Southampton, Deloitte, UCL, IBS Software, London City Airport and Highlands and Islands Airports.
Minister for Business, Paul Scully, added:
“We’re investing in ambitious projects, like Heathrow’s development of a blueprint for zero-carbon regional air travel, to ensure the aviation industry is championing the latest cutting-edge technology.
“Pioneering research supported by government funding will help the UK build back greener from the pandemic, remain at the forefront of aerospace research and development, and demonstrate global leadership in the next aviation revolution. I look forward to seeing such proposals take flight.”
A consortium led by Atkins has also been granted a research fund through the Future of Flight Challenge as to explore the feasibility of air taxi service. Click here to read more.
Credit: Heathrow Airport Limited