The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Authentication System consortium announced

Connected Places Catapult partners with IoT security start-up, ANGOKA partners and Cranfield University to protect drone communications in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Authentication System (UASAS) project.

Connected Places Catapult has partnered with ANGOKA Ltd, a Belfast cybersecurity start-up and Cranfield University in an exciting project to support and protect the future of drones and unmanned aircraft systems.

The UASAS project has been awarded funding from UK Research and Innovation’s Future Flight Challenge, part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, with an aim to revolutionise aviation and drone usage.

Drones are poised to become ubiquitous devices – they do not require runways, can be small and agile, and can hover over and survey areas that might be too risky for humans. Their commercial potential is staggering, and already companies like Wing (a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google’s parent company) and Amazon are beginning to explore this market. Delivery of goods and medicine, search and rescue and infrastructure, agricultural and environmental monitoring are just a few of many use cases that will soon propel drones into everyday life, for business and personal use.

However, for drones to truly take off, there needs to be a way to ensure that the communication crucial to controlling and flying the drones is protected. Without this key element, drones are at risk of being hacked and hijacked by nefarious actors, endangering not only the mission of the drone, but the environment around it. Securing drone communication ensures that national infrastructure, such as airports and mobile towers, is also protected.

The UASAS project brings together these three collaborators to create an authentication system that will provide a trusted identification service for drone usage. This system will protect communications from potentially devastating cyberattacks. Trusted identification will allow organisations to ensure that drones are flying in the right zones and without adverse effects to other parties, increasing overall confidence in drone technology.

Mark Westwood, Chief Technology Officer at Connected Places Catapult said: “With drones being set to become part of everyday life, one of the essential components is highly reliable and resilient security and authentication systems to ensure safe use. We are looking forward to being part of a project which will increase the confidence in drone technology and support the growth of a valuable market sector.”

ANGOKA are very excited to be working with such forward-thinking and resourceful partners, and to be building upon our work in the NCSC Cyber Accelerator in terms of authentication and identity management for drones and IoT devices. As drone technology advances and becomes more commonplace, solutions to protect their communications and identity will be more important than ever.

Yuri Andersson, CEO of ANGOKA commented: “Securing the communication of drones and unmanned vehicles will have a great impact across industries, from logistics to emergency response. We are excited to lead on this innovative project with world-class partners that will pave the way for safe and ubiquitous drone usage.”

Dr Saba Al-Rubaye, Senior Lecturer in Autonomous and Connected Systems and project lead at Cranfield University said: “We’re very pleased to be working with ANGOKA and the Connected Places Catapult on this exciting project to protect communication systems for controlling drones in flight and ensure they are able to safely complete their missions, while also protecting the environments around them. There is huge scope for drones and unmanned aerial vehicles to transform air transport activities and services – this project will help to harness that potential in a safe and secure way.”


Notes to Editors

For any questions related to the UASAS project please contact:

Natasha Moore, Partner Marketing Manager, Connected Places Catapult

About Angoka: ANGOKA is an IoT security company focused on protecting M2M communications for Smart Cities and Mobility. Headquartered in Belfast, with offices in London and The Hague, ANGOKA offers solutions that protect devices’ identities. With an increase of inherently insecure networks coming online with the boom of IoT, ANGOKA’s solutions safeguard critical machine-to-machine communication integrity and data provenance, creating trusted connections, even in untrustworthy networks.

ANGOKA is the only cybersecurity company to win a place on Zenzic’s CAM Scale-Up Programme, delivered in partnership with Plug and Play. ANGOKA was also the first NI start-up to be selected for NCSC’s Cyber Accelerator, who reviewed and assessed ANGOKA’s technology. ANGOKA is also an alumnus of Seraphim Space Camp, Yes!Delft and TechNation Cyber 2.0. For more information, visit

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 also being built at Cranfield to spearhead 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.