Announcing the Future Flight Investment Readiness Programme 2023 cohort

Posted on: 23/10/2023

Launching for the first time this year, the Future Flight Investment Readiness Programme.

Delivered as part of the UK Research and Innovation Future Flight Challenge, a cohort of 25 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working across the advanced air mobility, drones, and sub-regional electric flight supply chain have been selected to participate. Over the coming weeks, the cohort will receive support from specialists at Innovate UK KTN and our partners Starburst Aerospace, a leading aerospace start-up accelerator and strategic advisory practice. Participating SMEs will learn more about communicating effectively, how to identify and approach potential investors, and about the current state and trends of the aerospace investment market.

Gary Cutts, Future Flight Challenge Director, said:

After several years of heavy investment in technology, the drone and eVTOL industry is poised for rapid growth as products come to the market and novel air services emerge. This will result in a wide ecosystem of new business opportunities including infrastructure, air traffic management, digital services, and flight operations. The UK is well placed across this full spectrum with many high-growth investment opportunities from capable and credible companies. The Future Flight Investment Readiness Programme will help us to connect these organisations and potential investors, allowing the UK to maintain its position as a global aviation leader.

Innovate UK KTN supporting SMEs to secure investment

The programme will conclude with the launch of Future Flight Investor Office Hours. Future Flight Investor Office Hours are an innovative new approach to engaging with the investment community, delivered by Innovate UK KTN. They will facilitate connections between promising SMEs and start-ups with investors in their advanced air mobility (AAM), drones, and electric sub-regional flight technologies and services. Future Flight Investor Office Hours are a founder driven environment where innovators can:

  • Make new connections with investors.
  • Gain advice and seek feedback on company growth.
  • Gather guidance on next steps to secure investment.
  • Applications to participate in Future Flight Investor Office Hours are now open and will close at 5:00pm on 1 November 2023.

Meet the cohort

  • ARC Aerosystems is a pioneering technology firm, dedicated to the advancement of civil hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. Their goal is to address worldwide transportations challenges by providing practical and affordable aircraft solutions. ARC Aerosystems aim to enhance connectivity by making affordable passenger/cargo transportations accessible in areas lacking adequate infrastructure.

  • Digital & Future Technologies works with customers to bridge the gap between incumbent and emerging drone technologies to provide a cost-effective means to keep pace with technological change. They work across several disciplines, ranging from drone light shows for theme parks and private clients, through to drone infrastructure solutions for the cargo drone market.

  • Dynamic Intelligence Solutions create cutting-edge software for the identification, classification, and analysis of airborne objects such as drones using track dynamics. Their core product, Octa, fuses data from sensed data (e.g., radar) using advanced statistical and machine learning methods to provide enhanced situational awareness capabilities at scale, complementing existing technologies to provide robust and capable CUAS tracking and classification.

  • Ethicronics is a company that specialises in creating business-to-business (B2B) scalable software solutions aimed at eradicating counterfeit, compromised, or environmentally unfriendly electronic hardware. The team, operating from Cambridge, develops turnkey Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions for fabless companies operating in sectors such as Defence, Finance, Critical Infrastructure including Communication, Consumer Electronics/IoT, and Aerospace (contributing to a secure and sustainable aviation ecosystem).

  • FLIMAX is a zero-emission aircraft company, revolutionising aviation through the development of a series of battery electric, zero-emission aircraft for flightseeing, air taxi, and cargo transport markets. FLIMAX aircraft will exploit existing battery technology in innovative ways to maximise efficiency, eliminate emissions and greatly reduce noise and operating costs.

  • Flux Aviation is developing key technologies to enable electric flight, including ultra-high performance electric motors and batteries to power next-generation electric aircraft. From 2-seat trainer aircraft and up to 50-seat regional airliners, Flux Aviation is helping aircraft manufacturers to decarbonise both their passenger and cargo aircraft.

  • GrahamAir provides bespoke consultancy and support services to the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry, specialising in strategic consultancy and drone training for governments, defence, and private entities. With 15 years of experience operating in some of the most challenging environments, GrahamAir provides customers with specialist support relating to UAS operations, UAS operator training, and advice on regulatory approvals.

  • Gryphon Aviation Partners specialise in the commercialisation of emerging aerospace technologies to improve sustainability and efficiency through collaborations with OEMs. Gryphon Aviation Partners is currently collaborating on a range of products including active ionisation to improve cabin air quality, improved aerodynamic efficiency via next-generation winglets and fuselage surface treatments, and heavy-lift UAS.

  • Helix Geospace provides specialised antennas meticulously crafted for precision Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) and satellite communications. Harnessing the power of Dielectrix’s proprietary innovations, Helix offers an unparalleled array of ceramic core helical antenna solutions that offer interference and jamming capabilities, with high positional accuracy, and a small mass and volume footprint, making them ideal for aerospace, and autonomy applications.

  • The oceans are unmonitored areas where illegal fishing, pollution, and other crime can flourish. That is why Marble is building a scalable maritime monitoring system using fleets of high-speed drones and AI sensors, that reduce surveillance costs by 20x. After deploying prototypes in 4 countries, the company is now gearing up for large scale operations in 2024.

  • PilotAware currently detects all aircraft electronic conspicuity signals including PilotAware, FLARM, ADS-B, Mode-S, and FANET+. This provides high integrity from; Air-to-Air Detection, data rebroadcast from the (ATOM GRID) ground network, Air-to-Air Data Relay (Sky GRID), and mobile networks (iGRID). PilotAware’s roadmap injects this data into UAV flight controllers using AI characterisation enabling fully autonomous BVLOS.

  • Qdot, a spin-out from the Oxford Thermofluids Institute, is developing VTOL UAVs powered by hydrogen fuel cells and battery packs, with the aim of enabling and accelerating the transition to zero-emission aviation. The USP of the system lies in the thermal management-centric design of the powertrain, which allows Qdot’s UAVs to carry heavy payloads over long distances, without emissions.

  • RogersEV is developing a patented, next-generation propulsion system that uses rim-driven technology to offer significant improvements in efficiency, noise and thrust compared to current technologies. The ‘HaloDrive’ reintegrates the aerodynamic and electromechanical elements in a completely new architecture to provide a more resilient, easily maintainable, and safer propulsion system that is scalable across personal up to large commercial craft.

  • Skybridge has developed a novel eVTOL aircraft architecture based on their proprietary, self-contained battery-powered propulsion units that offer increased range, greater payload, and improved safety. The system offers customers such as airlines and logistics companies a wider range of use-cases and markets, including the ability to operate in areas with minimal support infrastructure.

  • Sky-Drones Technologies creates professional full-stack UAV avionics solutions including flight control, ground control and communication systems, as well as a cloud-based management platform. With a background in research and development, as well as manufacturing and product delivery, Sky-Drones Technologies helps global customers to build and operate drones for security and commercial applications.

  • Skyverse is revolutionising air traffic control with an innovative SaaS solution. Their versatile platform is designed to suit the unique needs of airports, regardless of their size. By harnessing the power of internet-based data sharing, Skyverse can enable real-time decision-making at aerodromes worldwide, resulting in elevated safety standards, heightened operational efficiency, and integration with the future of air mobility.

  • SLiNK-TECH is a Deep tech SME providing automated ground infrastructure for the future flight ecosystem. Their mission is to enable safe, automated, high throughput flight operations at any location, by providing a range of automated services to air vehicle developers, operators, and Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) systems.

  • Small World Aviation Group is pioneering an innovative air mobility ecosystem that addresses gaps in existing aviation operations. They offer services ranging from innovative ‘VertiSTOLports’ that offer a self-contained, fixed, and mobile, sustainable solution for aircraft agnostic AAM operations both at airports and in urban and rural communities and an airline/air-taxi operation using its innovative AI route enablement and optimisation model.

  • The Structural Battery Company has developed the concept of structural batteries, an energy source for electric vehicles that is integrated into the structure of the vehicle itself. This solution is especially appropriate for composite designs in applications where mass is a key design consideration, such as advanced air mobility and drones.

  • UAVAid offer a range of world class, multi-role drones, designed for operations in the world’s most remote and difficult to reach areas. Offering both hardware sales, operator training, and drone-delivered services such as aerial mapping, surveillance, and cargo delivery, UAVAid specialise in operations in areas with little to no infrastructure.

  • UAVTEK is a UK-based drone manufacturer that has developed a proprietary command and control system for UAVs, one of the only solutions that can operate in the most sophisticated electronic warfare environments. UAVTEKs’ services range from bespoke UAV design and consultancy, through to operator training and drone operations support.

  • Volador FlyTech specialises in pioneering solutions for sustainable advanced air mobility. Their products include cutting-edge eVTOL aircraft and immersion-cooled batteries, both addressing critical challenges for urban transportation and energy storage. Volador FlyTech’s eVTOL aircraft is designed to alleviate congestion, reduce pollution, and enhance connectivity while reducing emissions and setting new benchmarks in performance and safety.

  • WaveDrives have developed a patented electric actuator that utilises an innovative non-contact transmission to provide a fast, precise, compact, and non-jamming solution for actuation, making it ideal for advanced air mobility and drone applications. These actuators have increased life, reduced maintenance requirements, and ultra-efficient energy use, all of which help to improve performance and reduce operating costs.

  • X-Lok offer OEMs an ultra-lightweight toolless interconnect system for electrical cabling, with advanced EMI, RFI, EMC, and lightning strike protection. The system is compatible with ‘open’ wrapable sleeve technologies as well as conventional braids. X-Lok has developed this solution using high-performance polymers that are up to 85% lighter than comparable products, while usable in operating environments of up to 320°C.

  • YEET Aerospace designs and manufactures advanced drones capable of high-speed, long-distance, and long-duration flight. These highly capable drones, called ‘Plane-O-Copters’, have applications in ecology, surveillance, and search & rescue.

About the Future Flight Challenge

The UK Research and Innovation Future Flight Challenge is a £300 million programme, co-funded by government and industry, that is supporting the creation of the aviation ecosystem needed to accelerate the introduction of advanced air mobility (AAM), drones, and electric sub-regional aircraft in the UK.

Delivered by Innovate UK and the Economic and Social Research Council, the programme works with industry, academia, government, and regulators to transform how we connect people, transport goods, and deliver services in a sustainable way that provides socio-economic benefits using new types of air vehicles with novel technologies.

Appear on the Innovate UK Future Flight Landscape Map, the only comprehensive network of future flight academics, companies, end users, and investors.

Innovate UK KTN is a delivery partner of the UK Research and Innovation Future Flight Challenge.

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