Today we are excited to announce the 11 SMEs selected to join our first cohort of the Future of Air Mobility Accelerator programme.
In partnership with UK Research and Innovation’s Future Flight Challenge, the five-month programme is focused on scaling disruptive technologies in areas of Data Driven Aviation, Smart Airports and Advanced Air Mobility.
Alongside access to funding for live trials and demonstrations the SMEs will receive support from a consortium of industry partners, academic institutions and regulatory bodies. Including Supernal, GKN Aerospace, UK Civil Aviation Authority, Heathrow Airport, AGS Airports, BSI, Cranfield University and Coventry University.
Hannah Tew, Director of Air Mobility at Connected Places Catapult said: “I am so pleased to welcome such a talented group of SMEs to join our new Future of Air Mobility Accelerator. There is a wealth of knowledge across the different topic areas. I am looking forward to seeing how these projects progress on the programme with the help of the Accelerator partners we have on board.”
The SMEs that have been selected for five-month programme are:
- Altitude Angel provide powerful Unified Traffic Management (UTM) capabilities, integrating drones and UAVs with other air users, at scale with total safety.
- Commonplace’s community engagement platform enables their customers to collect, understand and act on public sentiment, enabling more informed decision making.
- DM-AirTech supports the safe and efficient deployment of Advanced Air Mobility by bringing application-specific meteorological services to market.
- Emu Analytics’ geospatial analytics and visualisation software enables their clients to effortlessly process, analyse and visualise big, fast and real-time geospatial data.
- Neuron offers a community-driven ground-based surveillance approach to create a Shared Airspace Network for all users, alongside industry-leading [governance and operational] consultancy services.
- OrxaGrid supports the global drive towards sustainability through their smart grid energy optimisation platform, leveraging sensor data and unique energy optimisation algorithms.
- R4DAR Technologies is on a mission to improve safety and effectiveness of autonomous systems through the provision of localised high-fidelity and resilient spatial awareness data.
- SeeTrue AI is automating the security screening process with its artificial intelligence solution, connecting to existing X-Ray and CT machines, increasing passenger throughputs in airports around the world.
- Sightec is a Visual Situational Awareness system for safe autonomous flights, based on computer vision and artificial intelligence technologies.
- TEKTowr has created SIMTWIN, a digital twin of the airspace and unmanned traffic management, creating a virtual collaborative space for emerging UAM disruptors to accelerate the planning process.
- Westfield Technology Group is a leading autonomous technology provider, developing the future of airside autonomous vehicles for transportation, safety and operations.
Connected Places Catapult are delivering the programme in partnership with Plus X who will support the SMEs through a bespoke commercial development programme tailored to their requirements.
Simon Masters, Deputy Challenge Director of the Future Flight challenge, at UKRI said, ”These 11 SMEs have the potential to change the aviation industry with their ideas and innovations. This accelerator programme will provide them with the opportunity to trial their technologies, with bespoke business support helping them through their commercial development. We look forward to seeing how they and their technology solutions progress over the next five months”.
Toby Kress, Programme Director, Plus X said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for innovation in air mobility. New technologies and approaches are emerging and rapidly transforming the way we move people and goods around the world and within our cities. Plus X is thrilled to be working with Connected Places Catapult and our leading industry partners to deliver an accelerator programme that champions the innovators at the cutting edge of this change – helping to speed up the development, adoption and commercialisation of impactful new solutions.
The support from the consortium will act as a catalyst to accelerating disruptive products and services to market, alongside accelerating commercial growth for SMEs transforming the future of air mobility.
“Developing the Advanced Air Mobility ecosystem – from the technology to critical infrastructure networks and public acceptance – requires thoughtful and strategic coordination from a variety of public and private stakeholders,” said Jaiwon Shin, Chief Executive Officer of Supernal and President of Hyundai Motor Group. “We are pleased to be part of the Future of Air Mobility Accelerator programme and look forward to working with the participants as they explore and advance important solutions that address market entry challenges.”
Heathrow’s Director of Operations, Kathryn Leahy, added: “We’re thrilled to be working with these SMEs and our industry partners to trial new, sustainable and innovative technologies that will help strengthen the UK’s world-class aviation sector, especially as it recovers from the impacts of the pandemic. We look forward to seeing these concepts brought to life and hope to be able to implement some of this technology on our own airfield in the future.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the programme or getting involved, please reach out to:
Accelerator Programme Lead
Notes to editors
Additional quotes and boilerplates
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the largest public funder of research and innovation in the UK, with a budget of over £8bn. It is composed of seven disciplinary research councils, Innovate UK and Research England.
We operate across the whole country and work with our many partners in higher education, research organisations businesses, government, and charities.
Our vision is for an outstanding research and innovation system in the UK that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute and to benefit, enriching lives locally, nationally and internationally.
Our mission is to convene, catalyse and invest in close collaboration with others to build a thriving, inclusive research and innovation system that connects discovery to prosperity and public good.
Future Flight challenge
The aviation system of the future needs more than just aircraft. The world is shaping up for a third revolution in aviation, one that sees greener, more flexible ways to fly. The Future Flight Challenge is a £300 million programme designed to secure the UK’s position at the front of the revolution.
The Challenge aims to transform how we connect people, deliver goods and provide services by speeding up the acceptance of these innovative ways and bringing them into use safely and practically. By combining control and regulation with infrastructure and aircraft systems to create new operating models the Challenge is creating the aviation system of the future.
For more information visit Future flight challenge – UKRI.
@UKRI_News / @InnovateUK / @SJMasters01
About Plus X
Plus X enables and supports tomorrow’s pioneer to meet the challenges of our time. We empower and enable bold thinkers at every kind of business – whether you’re a growing startup, a large, established business or somewhere in between. Through innovation, we can make life better for us all socially, economically, and environmentally. Our unique approach is all-inclusive. We offer everything needed to enable and accelerate innovation. By designing and developing innovation hubs, we create communities with collaboration in mind. By delivering expert-led, holistic programmes, we help create long-lasting organisational growth and change.
Facebook: Plus X Facebook
Supernal (Su·per·nal) is a U.S.-based smart mobility service provider on a mission to redefine how people move, connect, and live. We are developing an Advanced Air Mobility eVTOL vehicle and working to responsibly co-create the supporting ecosystem and integrate it into existing transit options. As part of Hyundai Motor Group, we are both a new business and an established company, with plans to harness our automotive manufacturing heritage to make Advanced Air Mobility accessible to the masses. Visit www.supernal.aero for more information and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Furqan, Technology Manager Future Flight, GKN Aerospace said:
“We are committed to a more sustainable future for aviation. We believe it will take a range of technologies and intensive collaboration across the whole industry to achieve our net zero goal. Although the Future of Air Mobility Accelerator programme is in its early stages, it is a great example of the partnership approach that is required. We’re delighted to work with SME’s and partners to explore the future of flight.”
About GKN Aerospace
GKN Aerospace is the world’s leading multi-technology tier 1 aerospace supplier. As a global company serving the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers, GKN Aerospace develops, builds and supplies an extensive range of advanced aerospace systems, components and technologies – for use in aircraft ranging from helicopters and 5th generation fighter jets to the most used single aisle aircraft and the largest passenger planes in the world. Lightweight composites, additive manufacturing, innovative engine systems and smart transparencies help to reduce emissions and weight on the aircraft and enhance passenger comfort. GKN Aerospace is market leading in aerostructures, engine systems, transparencies and wiring systems and operates in 13 countries at 41 manufacturing locations employing approximately 15,000 people.
About Heathrow Airport
Heathrow is the UK’s hub airport and one of the world’s top international airports. As Britain’s largest cargo port, Heathrow helps to drive British trade growth and assisting the country in the fight against COVID-19. Heathrow’s aim is to provide passengers with the best airport service in the world, and we’re delighted to have been voted one of the world’s top ten airports in the 2021 Skytrax Awards. Heathrow has been awarded the “Best Airport in Western Europe” for the sixth year, and became the only UK airport to win the COVID-19 Airport Excellence Award in recognition of the airport’s efforts to keep our passengers and colleagues safe during the pandemic. Heathrow has passed the CAA’s COVID-19 Security Assurance Scheme and has secured the Airport Health Accreditation from Airports Council International.
Fiona Smith, Group Head of Aerodrome Strategy at AGS Airports, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the Future of Air Mobility Accelerator programme. We strongly believe that Airports have a key role to play in supporting the development of safe, sustainable and efficient frameworks enabling the delivery of the future aviation market.
“This allows us to provide insight and advice to SMEs which is important as they develop disruptive technologies for the aviation industry.”
About AGS Airports
AGS Airports Limited was established in 2014 to invest in Aberdeen International, Glasgow and Southampton airports and is the second largest airport group in the UK.
AGS Airports Limited is jointly held by Ferrovial (via Faero UK Limited) and AGS Airports International Sarl (a Luxembourg company that is majority owned by Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 4 and managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (Europe) Limited).
UK Civil Aviation Authority
Frederic Laugere, Innovation Services Lead at the UK Civil Aviation Authority said: “The UK Civil Aviation Authority is delighted to be a partner to the Connected Places Catapult Future Air Mobility Accelerator programme and collaborate with SME’s developing innovative solutions. As part of the programme, we will offer regulatory expertise to improve innovation in Future Air Mobility. “
About UK Civil Aviation Authority
The UK Civil Aviation Authority is the UK’s aviation and aerospace regulator. We work so that:
- the aviation industry meets the highest safety standards,
- consumers have choice, value for money, are protected and treated fairly when they fly,
- through efficient use of airspace, the environmental impact of aviation on local communities is effectively managed and CO2 emissions are reduced,
- the aviation industry manages security risks effectively.
We are a public corporation, established by Parliament in 1972 as an independent specialist aviation regulator
Find out more at:
British Standards Institution
Nick Fleming, Head of Mobility and Transport Standards at BSI, said: “In our role as the UK’s National Standards Body, we are pleased to be supporting the Future of Air Mobility Accelerator to help SMEs meet and overcome various challenges. Standards are a crucial tool to enable innovation and will themselves help accelerate the safe development of new air mobility technologies and services.”
BSI is appointed by the UK Government as the National Standards Body and represents UK interests at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the European Standards Organizations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI). BSI traces its origins to 1901 and became the world’s first National Standards Body. Its role is to help improve the quality, safety and integrity of products, services and systems by facilitating the creation and maintenance of consensus based, market led standards and encouraging their use. BSI publishes over 2,700 standards annually and withdraws over 1,500 old or superseded standards using a collaborative approach, engaging with industry experts, government bodies, trade associations, businesses of all sizes and consumers to develop standards that reflect good practice.
Twitter – @BSI_UK
Professor Iain Gray, Director of Aerospace at Cranfield University, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Future of Air Mobility Accelerator programme and congratulations to those selected to join its first cohort. Data and digital aviation technologies are transforming the air transport sector and SMEs are playing a key role in developing the innovative products, solutions and services of the future.”
About Cranfield University
Cranfield is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.
Cranfield is the number one university in Europe for aerospace. We are one of the few universities in the world to have its own airport. Our history and heritage in aircraft research and design over the last 70 years is extending into the future with new capabilities in aircraft electrification, unmanned aerial vehicle technology and urban mobility.
As the UK’s most business-engaged University, we have long-term relationships and close commercial partnerships with many companies in the sector including Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing and Rolls-Royce.
Our education, research and consultancy is enhanced by our world-class facilities including the National Flying Laboratory Centre – a unique national asset which provides a hands-on, flying experience – along with flight deck simulators and industrial-scale gas turbine engine test facilities used for performance and diagnostic studies. The Aerospace Integration Research Centre, a £35 million innovative centre built in partnership with Airbus and Rolls-Royce, fosters collaboration between industry and academia, and a new £65 million Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre is spearheading the UK’s research into digital aviation technology.
Our global research airport offers a unique environment for transformational research. Interconnectivity between our facilities and across academic disciplines is enabling us to rethink the airports, airlines, airspace management and aircraft of the future in a holistic way. Barclay’s first Eagle Lab dedicated to aviation technology and supporting start-ups and SMEs opened on our campus in 2019.
Our National Beyond visual line of sight Experimentation Corridor – created with partners Blue Bear Research Systems, Thales and Vodafone – provides a safe, managed environment for drone and unmanned aircraft experimentation.
Cranfield also has a long history in space systems, having undertaken space studies since the 1960s.
Notable Cranfield alumni include Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce plc and Ralph Hooper, who attended the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield in 1946 and went on to become one of the UK’s most important post-war aircraft designers, creating the Hawker Harrier jump jet.
Kevin Vincent, Director, Centre for Connected and Autonomous Automotive Research, said: “Coventry University, through the National Transport Design Centre, is delighted to support the Connected Places Catapult’s ‘Future of Air Mobility’ accelerator. The university has a long history of supporting SMEs and this strategically important initiative ideally complements the centre’s research themes in Urban Air Mobility and electric Vertical Take off and Landing vehicles. We are therefore looking forward to helping SMEs develop disruptive technologies in the aviation industry.”
About Coventry University
Coventry University is a global, modern university with a mission of Creating Better Futures. We were founded by entrepreneurs and industrialists in 1843 as the Coventry School of Design and we continue to have strong links with the public and private sector, providing job-ready graduates with the skills and creative thinking to improve their communities.
With a proud tradition of innovative teaching and learning, Coventry University has world-class campus facilities, the UK’s first standalone 5G network and a digital community of learning. Our students are part of a global network that has 50,000 learners studying Coventry University degrees in more than 40 different countries and collaborations with 150 higher education providers worldwide.
We have greatly increased our research capacity and ability with a focus on impactful research, delivered for and with organisations, to address real-world challenges and support business and communities to develop and grow.
Over two centuries, we have flourished in Coventry and Coventry University Group now also delivers access to our range of high-quality services and collaborations through bases in London, Scarborough, Belgium, Poland, Egypt, Dubai, Singapore and Africa.
In recent years, we have won many awards and vastly improved our rankings in the league tables that matter to students – but what matters to us is delivering transformational change for our students, collaborative organisations and communities around the world.