The Future of Flight Challenge involves over 40 new projects across the UK receiving a share of £33.5m as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Its aim is to bring together the UK’s world leading research with businesses to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time. The fund forms part of the Government’s £2.4bn increase in research and development spending over the next 4 years and was designed to ensure that research and innovation take centre stage in the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy.

A consortium led by Atkins and involving Vertical Aerospace and the West of England Combined Authority has been awarded an industrial research grant through the UK Government’s Future of Flight Challenge to look at the feasibility of an air taxi service in the South West Region before conducting a demonstration in a live environment.

The project was created to find innovative methods of achieving greener flight, increasing mobility, improving connectivity and reducing congestion. Expected to take 18 months, the work will comprise:

  • An assessment of the demand for air taxi
    services in the South West.
  • Development of use cases for the technology.
  •  An evaluation of the benefits to the region

The research will establish viable markets and business cases for these services and seek to understand public perceptions and attitudes towards eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft. These activities aim to culminate in a series of full-system demonstrations in live
airspace across the region.

The South West is set to lead the way for future Advanced Air Mobility. While the feasibility studies and subsequent trials will be based in the South West, the project will also consider scalability and application in other cities.

This new transport eco-system requires the convergence of the aerospace, infrastructure, communication and intelligent mobility worlds.

Crossing boundaries between regulatory environments, design constraints and design drivers will require each individual element to be designed with an understanding of the others. A deep understanding of all these environments is neither easily nor quickly gained, but it is fundamental to a create a successful solution.

Atkins has the depth and breadth of engineering capabilities across all of the key sectors that are critical to Advanced Air Mobility. Combining this with its business consulting capabilities creates a powerful offering to our clients. From vehicle manufacturers, infrastructure and service providers to entire cities, we are able to advise and support clients in considering the wider Advanced Air Mobility system, successfully delivering an integrated solution.

Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, has been at the cutting edge of aerospace technology for over two decades. From composite wings to the world’s largest civil aircraft; to a range of military UAV platforms and flagship projects in space, we have demonstrated an ability to create high-quality pioneering solutions in safety-critical environments. With a long heritage and proven expertise in understanding the built environment, we support a variety of stakeholders in shaping how technologies can be integrated into future smart cities.

"I want to bring the jobs of the future to the West of England and get our region moving. This air taxi trial brings both those ambitions together and is a significant step in cementing the UK and the West of England as leaders in air taxis".

- Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor


Programme Management, System Architecture and Safety and Regulation

Advanced Air Traffic Management

Airport Infrastructure and Test Facilities

Business Case, Demand Modelling and Stakeholder Engagement

Aircraft Data and Communications

Air Traffic Control and Airspace Managemen

Secure Data Network and Cyber Security

Ground Infrastructure and Passenger Security

Aircraft Integration and Public Engagement

Local Authority and Stakeholder Engagement

To find out more visit: www.atkinsglobal.com | www.snclavalin.com


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