Winners announced for the Drones Transport Research and Innovation Grants Programme

Connected Places Catapult is delighted to announce six new research and innovation projects through the 2021 Drones Transport Research and Innovation Grants (TRIG: Drones) programme. The Transport Research and Innovation Grants (TRIG) Programme has been running for a number of years, but this is the first year that the Department for Transport (DfT) has invested in drone technology and solutions specifically.

The 2021 drones programme, delivered by Connected Places Catapult, is part of the existing DfT Drones Pathfinder Catalyst Programme which is looking to accelerate the delivery of near-to-market drone flight and air traffic management capabilities within the UK.  

For this opportunity, the themes were: Onboard Detect and Avoid, Autonomy and Communications. Throughout the six-month programme the projects will undertake early-stage research and development studies examining how drones can be integrated into UK airspace. Each project will receive a tailored business support plan to ensure the projects delivered through this programme will help to position the UK as a country open to technological innovation including as a source of expertise on the use of drones in industry and the public sector.

The TRIG: Drones projects will achieve innovative work in several sectors, including solutions in green-energy asset inspection, self-healing mesh networks, greenhouse gases (GHG) tracking, remediation of broadband “not-spots” and aerospace collision avoidance. The successful projects that have secured up to £30k funding are:

Motion Robotics Limited
VISIOPHONIC: An Audio and Visual Based Detect and Avoid System 

PilotAware Detect and Avoid 

Rinicom Limited

DART (Detect and avoid Augmented Reality Testing) 

Snowdonia Aerospace LLP
Dragon’s Roar (“Rhuo Ddraig”) 

SurveyAR Ltd
Autonomous Swarm Atmospheric Assessment Platform [ASAAP] 


Rachel Maclean, Transport Minister said: “From how we move goods to tackling global issues and saving lives, drones have the potential to transform our transport future.

“Already at the forefront of aviation innovation, these projects will allow us to further harness the benefits drones have to offer and I’m excited to see how they could revolutionise how we detect aircraft, monitor emissions and even carry out emergency rescues in remote locations.”

Mark Westwood, Chief Technology Officer, Connected Places Catapult said, “The Connected Places Catapult is delighted to be working with these innovative companies on tackling such important topics. We continue to work with government, industry and regulators towards making the UK a global leader in drone technology and services, and are hugely excited at the potential for these projects”.

To find out more about the projects you can read about them in the cohort brochure.