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Future Flight Challenge

Future Flight aims to revolutionise the way people, goods and services fly.

Future Flight Challenge

Future Flight aims to revolutionise the way people, goods and services fly. It will support the development of a novel integrated aviation system around freight-carrying drones, urban air vehicles to hybrid-electric regional aircraft.

Hear about the Future Flight Challenge from some of those organisations already involved (video).

The challenge will also develop the supporting ground infrastructure, regulation and control systems required to use these new aircraft practically and safely.

These new modes of travel will increase mobility, reduce road congestion, improve connectivity, increase UK manufacturing opportunities and help aviation to reduce its environmental impact around the world.

The Future Flight programme is funded by £125 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund which is expected to be matched by up to £175 million from industry.


What are the opportunities?

The Future Flight Challenge will deliver a new revolution in aviation by bringing together technologies in electrification, digital and autonomy to create new modes of air travel and capability; enabling flying taxis, drones delivering goods and services, and small, all-electric aircraft – innovations that could address the mobility and congestion problems faced by increasingly urban, ageing populations, and reduce the carbon footprint of the global aviation system.

And, to enable widespread, safe use of these new vehicles, the Future Flight Challenge will also help the wider aviation system to develop upgraded physical, computer and regulatory infrastructure.

The challenge will cover four areas of activity:

  • Control and regulations including air traffic management
  • New operating models
  • Ground infrastructure
  • Integrating new aircraft with a new aviation system


Phase 1 winners

The details of the Phase 1 winners can be found here.


Phase 2 – now live

In Phase 2 Innovate UK is investing up to £30m in projects that develop integrated aviation systems and/or vehicle technologies that enable new classes of electric or autonomous air vehicles. These could include drones, urban air mobility vehicles or electric sub-regional aircraft. Solutions should be able to be integrated into a mature operational environment, ensuring safe and reliable operation in flight and on the ground.


This competition phase has two strands, both open to collaborations only. Strand 1 encourages applications from smaller businesses and organisations who traditionally do not work within the aerospace / aviation sector; strand 2 will focus on larger projects and encourage applications that seek to integrate technologies and systems.


Future Flight Fridays

Future Flight Fridays is KTN’s monthly webinar series that will help anyone interested in becoming involved in this programme to foster collaborations and share knowledge.

This challenge needs expertise from diverse sectors, not just aviation. The monthly webinar series will feature topics from various relevant sectors including creative industries, digital, infrastructure and law.

If you’re interested in building a diverse consortium, gaining new insights and finding technical expertise, find out what’s on in the series below.

All webinars are held from 12:00-13:00 and you can book here.

24 July – Air mobility of the future

28 August – Nature inspired solutions for flight

25 September – Public trust in future flight

23 October – Immersive technology

27 November – Zero emission infrastructure


How KTN can help

KTN has a wide breadth of knowledge base and connections into a range of sectors, technologies and services to enable you to build the diverse super-consortia needed to deliver this challenge. KTN will work with UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) to convene experts, consortium leads and anyone interested in joining a consortium to enable knowledge exchange and new connections to be made. You can contact key staff below; alternatively contact to reach the team.

Michelle Carter – Head of Transport
Hannah Abson – KTM, Aviation
George Filip – KTM, Autonomous Vehicles
Phil Williams – Head of Complex Systems

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Funding opportunities