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The Engineer: Flying Taxis and Drone Deliveries Could Materialize in the UK by 2030

(Credits: Revolution)

The joint Future of Flight action plan, revealed by the government and industry, outlines ambitious goals for the transformation of UK skies. It envisions the advent of flying taxis, crime-fighting drones, and efficient 999 care deliveries within the next decade.

Released by the Department for Transport (DfT) on March 18, 2024, the plan maps out how such innovative technology could revolutionize transportation and potentially contribute £45bn to the UK economy by 2030, according to studies on drone technology.

Key milestones highlighted in the Future of Flight action plan include the first piloted flying taxi flight slated for 2026, with regular services expected by 2028. Additionally, the plan aims for regular drone deliveries across UK skies by 2027 and demonstrations of autonomous flying taxis without pilots on board by 2030.

Flying Drone (Credits: The Engineer)

Originating from the Flightpath to the Future initiative in 2022, the joint plan, developed in collaboration with industry experts and leaders, outlines the sector’s strategic direction over the next five years. It emphasizes balancing innovation, security, safety, and emissions reduction.

Among its initiatives, the plan proposes allowing drones to operate beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS), fostering the sector’s growth while minimizing airspace restrictions.

It also aims to repurpose smaller aerodromes as vertiports for electric aircraft capable of vertical takeoff while establishing standards to enhance drone security and bolster public safety.

Aviation and Technology Minister Anthony Browne underscored the role of cutting-edge battery technology in transforming transport, affirming the government’s commitment to ensuring the necessary infrastructure and regulations are in place to facilitate this transformation.

Anthony Browne (Credits: Cambridge Independent)

The DfT highlighted the tangible benefits of drone technology already witnessed in the UK, citing instances like West Midlands Police successfully employing drones to combat crime and frontline NHS staff leveraging drones to expedite critical medical deliveries, resulting in significant time savings and enhanced patient care.

Duncan Walker, chief executive of Skyports and chairman of the Future of Flight Industry Group, emphasized the UK’s potential to lead the next era of aviation and stressed the importance of continued collaboration between government and industry to capitalize on emerging opportunities in the aviation sector.

The Future of Flight action plan precedes the fifth meeting of the Future of Flight Industry Group, underscoring ongoing efforts to address challenges and set ambitious goals as aviation technologies evolve and become increasingly prevalent.

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