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Build the Commonwealth of nations'​ skies : a British plan?

The New Frontier has a name, #Urban Air Mobility #UAM, the so called 3rd dimension. The conquest to this very promising global market has already started. What we already know, is that this battle for the airspace and its alternate fast traffic lanes requires a complex ecosystem partnering, to face the many challenges ahead.

To explore the third dimension and build a strategic plan for mobility, requires a strong leadership at government level. How is UK adressing this challenge, what is the plan and the objective?

The Government is committed to creating the conditions in which mobility innovation can flourish and deliver benefits for society.

The New Frontier has a name, #Urban Air Mobility #UAM, the so called 3rd dimension. The conquest to this very promising global market has already started. What we already know, is that this battle for the airspace and its alternate fast traffic lanes requires a complex ecosystem partnering, to face the many challenges ahead.

To explore the third dimension and build a strategic plan for mobility, requires a strong leadership at government level. How is UK adressing this challenge, what is the plan and the objective?

The Government is committed to creating the conditions in which mobility innovation can flourish and deliver benefits for society.

An extensive and collaborative programme of work, guided by the principles for shaping the future of #urbanmobility, will help policymakers, businesses and local leaders harness the opportunities from profound changes in mobility.

Even if UK is a traditional home of liberalism, the British Government has published its strategy for future mobility, and of course, part of its Industrial strategy is aimed at resolving the challenge of mobility which includes as well the aerial activities. 

The government  Industrial Strategy will play an important part in helping to deliver on the future of mobility grand challenge. It will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make travel safer, improve accessibility, and present enormous economic opportunities for the UK.

The £740 million of  the National Productivity Investment Fund for investment funding is dedicated to digital infrastructure by 2020/21. It is  focusing, at first, in 2019, on digital connectivity  with fixed and wireless networks that  will underpin the future of #mobility grand challenge : from testing 5G technologies to funding other trials into digital technologies that will enable connected and self-driving vehicles, 

The education system will play an important part in addressing skills gaps and preparing the UK workforce for the future of mobility. £406 million additional invest in education and skills will help address the shortage of science, technology, engineering and maths skills, and reform the technical education system, with apprenticeships and qualifications.

By developing its aviation strategy and the Aerospace Sector DealDfT is considering the role that new potential air mobility solutions, such as vertical take-off and landing #VTOLconcepts, could play in transforming aerial mobility and improving regional connectivity.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will transform the way it engages with innovation in the aviation sector, through three new areas of work: an innovation open gateway, a regulatory lab setting out a roadmap and developing test cases around urban air mobility, and finally a “regulatory sandbox” where the CAA can give initial guidance to innovators on the development and potential approval of ideas.  

In the actions of the UK government some key guidelines prevail : developing a network of third-party experts to provide impartial advice to the public on new technologies, ensuring that the labour market remains successful and competitive and ready to embrace the benefits of the changes, without compromising key protections which employees rely on, working to ensure that employment legislation keeps pace with modern working relationship.The benefits of innovation in mobility must be available to all parts of the UK and all segments of society. The marketplace for mobility must be open, to stimulate innovation and give the best deal to consumers. New mobility services must be integrated transport system combining public, private and multiple modes for transport users. Data must be shared 

Let's review some of the programmes benefited by the governmental funds: the first, fostering experimentation and trialling, through the launch of up to four future mobility zones with £90 million of funding. The Future Flight programme, which will receive up to £125 million of government match funding, subject to business case and working to establish how the UK can enable unmanned traffic management and the operation of drones beyond visual line of sight, while keeping the public safe.

As part of this, the government is also today confirming £12.1 million of funding for 6 projects working on simulation and modelling to aid the development of connected and autonomous vehicles, testing and proving their safety.

On a more local level, London Development is to offer first dedicated drone port in the UKto fasten the implementation of a new service: drone delivery. Maida Vale, a residential complex designed by architect Sir Terry Farrel and developed in partnership with Skyports, will be the first in the UK to implement rooftop ‘vertiports’, drone delivery services.

Well, but the strength of UK, relies as well on its Clubs, Societies, Groups, and other foundations. The expectation from this multi-stakeholder approach, as far as #AirMobility is concerned is high, taking into account the 1,5 trillion market as predicted by Morgan Stanley. A new joint government-industry Aerospace Sector Deal has been tasked to promote next generation electric planes and greater use of city airspace.

For example, NESTA backs innovations to tackle the big air mobility challenge, while  ADS#UrbanAirMobility Group, a special Interest group for ADS Members and stakeholders involved in the smaller-vehicle, more autonomous and more electric #AirMobility sector, support their access into those emerging markets.

The Group aims to establish the UK as a world-leading location where UAM solutions and services are developed and delivered by bringing together the diverse stakeholders that will shape, and offer solutions into, this new and emerging sector of aviation. 

The traditional Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), and the Aerospace technology Institute are other bridges between government and the industry and ecosystem to prepare and maximise UK's full economic potential. Those organizations are the relays of a powerful and traditional aeronautical industry.

When we take a look at the last move of one of the biggest representative of this industry, ROLLS-ROYCEwhich just announced before the #ParisAirShow, the purchase of the SIEMENS branch developing electric motors, we have a clear understanding that if the future is at stake, the UK industry big players are already at work to become the world leaders. The Engine maker had designed a propulsion system for a flying taxi which could take to the skies as soon as early next decade.The British firm had drawn up plans for an electric vertical take-off and landing #eVTOL vehicle, which could carry four to five people and travel at speeds of up to 402 km/h (250 mph) for approximately 800 km ( 500 miles ).

Volante by ASTON MARTIN

GKN, another key player of the sector specialized in airframes and technology in mobility, has partnered with PAL-V from netherlands. Not mentioning the Aston Martin#AirMobility prototype, first shown at Farnborough in 2018, which gave a strong signal that the future of mobility is up.

Another strong pillar, on which UK can rely, in its race for leadership in Air Mobility is for sure the academic one. UK definitely has a tradition of producing the best engineers out of its universities. Let's mention first of course Cranfield, Europe's first aerospace integration research center. We can mention as well Coventry and its institute for future transport of cities, or SheffieldNottinghamSwansea.

To complete the picture of the UK ecosystem, London is  the leading  financial place and for sure represents a tremendous asset when financing and insuring the new business opportunities are at stake. As far as the Startups ecosystem is concerned, London has long been ranked as the best place in the world, to launch an innovative company. Startups  like FaradairNeva Aerospace , vertical aerospace or Samad aerospace are some of the good  examples of the UK excellence in entrepreneurship.

Other companies with good track record of success in the air mobility area can be mentioned as well: Cyberhawk Innovations , a world-leading visual asset management company, using drones to conduct complex asset inspections and surveys, Consortiq helping organisations putting drones in the sky safely, Altitude Angel creating solutions that enable the safe integration and use of fully autonomous drones in global airspace, Coverdroneoffering insurance coverage for drones flights, just to mention a few. 

At last but not least, there might not be other better places as UK when specialized aeronautical press is concerned. This particular fact might be explained by the points here above exposed: strong government strategy, relayed by powerful organizations where one of the strongest aeronautical industry of the planet is based, driven by brilliant engineers coming out of the excellent universities...

CONCLUSION

UK Government kick-starts work on future of mobility grand challenge with a strategy to put the UK at the forefront of mobility innovation, which aims to make UK the world leader in the movement of goods, services and people. It is pushy, taking no risk of falling behind in the world #AirMobility race, and putting UK at the heart of the next mobility revolution. But it is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy  and could help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make travel safer, improve accessibility, and present enormous economic opportunities for the UK.

Yes, there is no doubt, that UK, after dominating the oceans wants to reign in the sky.

Read also from Vincent Kieffer: seasoned global executive in the helicopter industry, a pioneer in #AirMobility, founded BOOKmyHELO, the first #AirMobility digital platform selected by CES in 2017, president of MOBILITES DANS L’AIR, the observatory at the service of #AirMobility, and organizer of UAMES19.

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