Future flight challenge

City scene with aerial vehicles

This challenge is investing up to £125 million to develop greener ways to fly, such as all-electric aircraft and deliveries by drone, by advancing electric and autonomous flight technologies. The investment is matched by £175 million from industry.

The challenge aims to bring together technologies in electrification, aviation systems and autonomy to create new modes of air travel and capability. It will:

  • create the aviation system of the future
  • increase mobility, improve connectivity and reduce congestion for people across the UK
  • advance electric and autonomous flight technologies to help the UK reach its net zero target
  • drive technology investment to the UK by increasing UK manufacturing and service opportunities.

See Challenge Director Gary Cutts present the ambition and opportunities for business (Vimeo)

Find funding opportunities

You can use our funding finder to search for ISCF funding and any wider opportunities.

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Read more about UKRI business funding opportunities.

Funded and announced projects

Projects funded so far include:

  • using drones to support the NHS and emergency services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • investing in the future of air mobility and technologies that will allow full electric flight in the UK
  • addressing challenges for the wider aviation system that new aircraft will operate within, including key infrastructure and air traffic management
  • investigating the use of hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel source for future aircraft and understanding the infrastructure requirements
  • a ‘pop-up airport’ project that will create the world’s smallest airports that can be deployed for example to support disaster emergencies.

Last updated: 28 January 2021

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