Project HEART Phase 3

Project HEART aims to demonstrate a viable regional transport network that is zero carbon, affordable, scalable, and safe.


Project HEART Phase 3

Lead Organisation

BlueBear Systems






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Project dates: 1 July 2022 – 31 March 2025

About the Project

Project HEART (Hydrogen- Electric and Automated Regional Transportation) is aimed at sub-regional aviation (typically using 9-19 passenger aircraft, with circa 100 licensed airfields around the UK) with an objective to enable a commercially viable, innovative, and eco-friendly network that provides a passenger experience giving door-to-door travel options, improved convenience, flexibility and travel information along with visibility of carbon footprint.

Please Note: Funding available is the grant value awarded by Innovate UK.

Project Activities

Project HEART aims to create a compound demonstration and vision of a ‘Day-in-the-life’ of a deployed network, culminating in flight trials utilising aircraft with hydrogen-electric powertrain, autonomous pilot control and support systems, as well as other key technologies that better account for the needs of travellers and support them throughout their journey.

The project will address the following key areas:

  • Aircraft with hydrogen fuel cell and electric powertrains and on-board automation.
  • Implementation of green hydrogen infrastructure (production storage and refuelling) with consideration of transport and distribution solutions, along with developing a skilled workforce to operate and maintain the infrastructure and aircraft.
  • Use of aircraft control automation, including pilot assistance pilot during high workload.
  • Use of hybrid connectivity solutions to assist in datalink operation, mission critical communication, as well as providing in-cabin passenger services.
  • Integration of the HEART network with other transportation modes through mobility-as-a-service solutions to enable fast transfers across new and legacy transport modes.
  • Use of autonomous ground systems to ‘guide’ aircraft, automate baggage and cargo loading/unloading, and handle refuelling operations.
  • New, low-cost, modular, and scalable airport terminal technology concepts brought to life through simulation, modelling and technical demonstrations to demonstrate enhanced passenger experience.
  • Understanding and addressing societal concerns such as safety of hydrogen-electric powertrains and dependence on new levels of automation and technologies.

These elements of demonstration, simulation and analysis will be brought together in a compound narrative called the ‘HEART Mosaic’ to show the full ‘Day in the Life’ picture of the network operation, which will be published through various media and engagement methods to show the journey HEART has taken, and how it will develop to serve people in the future.


The technologies and services developed through Project HEART will help to significantly reduce the cost of operations and improve operational reliability of regional, automated electric flight to allow services to be delivered safely and at scale.

To find out more about the project, please contact Innovate UK Business Connect’s Knowledge Transfer Manager for Aviation.

Project Partners

  • BlueBear Systems
  • Arqit
  • Britten-Norman
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • FOD Mobility Group
  • GENEO Software
  • Highlands and Islands Airports
  • Loganair
  • Mott MacDonald
  • Protium Green Solutions
  • Richmond Design & Marketing (RDM Group)
  • Saab Technologies UK
  • Weston Williamson + Partners
  • ZeroAvia

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