Volant Autonomy, a technology spinout from the University of Bath, is leading a nine-partner consortium that has been awarded a £3.7 million project to develop and integrate next generation aviation systems to improve island connectivity.
Project Agile Integrated Airspace System (ALIAS) will see drones being used to test state of the art technology aimed at making the skies safer for all aviation, and ultimately enabling autonomous unmanned aircraft providing better supply-chain and connectivity to the UK and Europe. The consortium will integrate cutting-edge technology including flight autonomy software, Unmanned Traffic Management, SWaP sensing and secure comms, into a cohesive, agile and safe airspace system. The consortium includes Ports of Jersey, as the operator of the Island’s airport and harbours, and is working closely with Digital Jersey to access local knowledge and connections to on-island stakeholders.
Ports of Jersey, Airport Direct Robin MacRae, said: “We, at Ports of Jersey, are very excited to be part of a consortium involving such cutting edge partners who are looking at such potentially game changing technology. Two of our core strategic business objectives are building connectivity and investing in Jersey’s future, and so ALIAS is a perfect fit for us. This is combined with the ability to be able to work closely with Digital Jersey, a perfect example of local entities working together for the benefit of the Island.”
Digital Jersey CEO Tony Moretta said: “It’s a great example of the attractiveness of the Sandbox Jersey offering that we have been chosen as the test bed for this exciting technology. The infrastructure we offer and the ease with which we can connect Volant to the facilities, regulators, and services it needs, makes us the ideal location. As an island, we can also benefit tremendously as end users. The project will see drone flight trials that will demonstrate the opportunities for us to use sustainable autonomous drone aircraft to help transport medical supplies, commercial cargo, and perhaps ultimately passengers at some point in the future.”
Volant Autonomy’s CEO, Dr. David Cleaver, said: “My family come from the Isle of Wight so I am fully aware of the unique set of challenges posed by Island Connectivity. The ALIAS project will address these through a flexible and agile airspace system that enables safe drone operations for logistics in the near-medium term and air taxis for personal mobility in the long term”