Drones to deliver COVID-19 supplies and fight fires

The government has named 20 aviation projects that will receive £7m in funding to accelerate solutions for problems ranging from COVID-19 to climate change.

The first tranche of funding is part of a larger £33.5m package to support a total of 48 projects using aviation in innovative ways to overcome challenges.

The winning projects include: Dock-to-Dock, which is based in Cardiff and is developing a pilot project to deliver goods between Bristol and Cardiff using a hydrogen-powered electric aircraft.

Another, Windracers Distributed Avionics, is based in Southampton and Bristol. It is developing swarming technology, which is an approach to coordinate multiple robots, to allow multiple drones to fly in close formations and work together to provide humanitarian aid or fight fires.

Nadhim Zahawi, business and industry minister, said: “As the UK leads the way in the aviation revolution, these bold proposals showcase the pioneering spirit of the UK’s aerospace and aviation industries in solving global issues, and those facing us here in the UK.

“Today we have announced over £7m of funding for projects across the country which demonstrate how using the latest and most cutting-edge aviation technologies can step up our response to the coronavirus pandemic, help us build back better and cement our well-earned reputation for research and development excellence, while creating hundreds of new jobs.”

Details of funding for another 28 projects will be issued in due course.

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