TECHNOLOGY

World’s First Urban Drone Security Project Wins Future Flight Challenge

The world’s first SafeZone project wins its third round of Future Flight Challenge funding to transform the safety and commercial viability of urban drone flights.

The Future Flight Challenge is investing up to £125 million to develop greener ways of flying, such as all-electric aircraft and drone deliveries, by advancing electric and autonomous flight technologies. The investment is matched by £175 million from the industry.

SafeZone wins nearly £70 million share for ambitious, real-world demonstrations for a new aviation system from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, provided by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Creating safe practices for the urban drone

Founding Partners Zenotech and Flare Clear are accompanied by University of Cranfield and Cardiff . Airport on a mission to develop safer unmanned drones in urban spaces; a game changer to increase efficiency, reduce congestion, improve sustainability and develop the capabilities of emergency services.

Security is paramount at airports around the world that are planning to significantly increase inspections of autonomous facilities to improve cost efficiency, a step accelerated by the impact of Covid-19. The SafeZone team will generate and use localized aerodynamic meteorological data to enable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to adjust their route as they fly through wind changes and close to buildings for inspection purposes.

The partnership plans to use these results to enable the delivery of a new live data service to provide real-time information about aerodynamic hazards in urban environments.

SafeZone leverages Flare Bright’s expertise in machine learning digital twins for drones, who contributed in this project to design, build and fly UAVs and the groundbreaking capabilities of their wind-sensing nano-drone. This technology is combined with Zenotech’s advanced high-performance computing and flow simulation tools, capabilities and in-house expertise.

In the early stages of the project, Zenotech and Flare Bright realized a world first of a series of airside validation flight trials at Cardiff International Airport. As proof of these successful results, Cardiff Airport is now on board as a project partner, providing facilities and operational support. Cranfield University is also participating in the project.

Phase 3 pushes the boundaries of wind measurements, and instead of using a single column of accurate wind measurements to validate Zenotech’s CFD wind models, it will measure wind using multiple drones flying simultaneously to capture even finer details over larger areas. pecking through an organization than ever before.

Gary Cutts, Future Flight Challenge Director, UKRI tells us: “Phase 3 of the Future Flight Challenge is all about advancing innovative technologies so they are ready for real-world situations. The UK has an excellent track record in aviation and we are committed to ensuring that these new autonomous technologies operate as safely as possible. What the SafeZone project is doing is a critical part of that and I look forward to seeing them build on the excellent results of their first project.”

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