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UK set to revolutionise transport with flying taxis and drones by 2030

The Department for Transport (DfT) today announced the Future of Flight action plan, a comprehensive strategy aimed at integrating advanced aerial technologies into everyday life by the end of the decade.

This groundbreaking initiative promises the introduction of piloted flying taxis by 2026, with expectations of regular service commencement by 2028, and the deployment of autonomous flying taxis and extensive drone delivery services by 2030. The plan represents a significant leap towards utilising drone technology, which is projected to contribute £45 billion to the UK economy by 2030.

Anthony Browne, the Aviation and Technology Minister, emphasised the transformative potential of cutting-edge battery technology on transportation. He stated that the plan aims to position the UK as a leader in this innovative shift, improving transportation efficiency, public safety, and the economy.

The announcement coincided with Browne's visit to Vertical Aerospace in Bristol, a pioneering company in the flying taxi industry, further highlighting the Government's commitment to supporting UK innovation in aviation.

Key elements of the action plan include enabling drones to operate beyond the visual line of sight, revitalising smaller aerodromes as vertiports for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, enhancing drone security standards, and fostering community and local authority engagement to maximise the benefits of these technologies.

The plan builds on the vision outlined in the 2022 Flightpath to the Future, aiming to balance innovation with security, safety, and environmental sustainability over the next five years.

Demonstrating the tangible benefits of these technologies, West Midlands Police and NHS staff have already successfully employed drones in combating crime and improving critical healthcare delivery, showcasing the significant positive impact on public services.

The Future of Flight action plan also outlines measures to streamline drone applications and the development of vertiports, ensuring swift, safe, and secure adoption of these technologies. Furthermore, it sets the stage for industry-leading trials to explore new operational methods and applications of drone and electric aircraft technology.

Anthony Browne, Aviation and Technology Minister, said: “Cutting-edge battery technology will revolutionise transport as we know it – this plan will make sure we have the infrastructure and regulation in place to make it a reality. 

“From flying taxis to emergency service drones, we’re making sure the UK is at the forefront of this dramatic shift in transportation – improving people’s lives and boosting the economy.”

Duncan Walker, Chief Executive of Skyports and Chairman of the Future of Flight Industry Group, said: “The UK is home to one of the world’s most important aerospace industries and is in an ideal position to be a pioneer in the next era of aviation. The government and industry have a joint commitment to support the development, industrialisation and introduction of new aviation technologies. Continued collaboration will ensure that we capitalise on the significant domestic and international market opportunities presented by the future of flight.

“By supporting research and development in electric aircraft and drones, and with the help of key partners like the CAA, the action plan aims to usher in a new era of eco-friendly aviation and boost the economy with new investments, ensuring the UK captures the full potential of this emerging global industry as a force for good and a driver of growth.”

Sophie O’Sullivan, Head of Future Safety and Innovation at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “Aviation stands on the cusp of its next, potentially biggest, revolution since the invention of the jet engine. Drones, eVTOL and other different vehicles have the potential to change transportation options forever.

“We welcome the firm direction the government’s Future of Flight action plan provides for the industry as it continues to innovate. Our role in this bright future of aviation will be enabling technological advances and providing regulatory support while ensuring that all forms of new aviation technology enjoy the same high safety standards as traditional aviation."

Anne-Lise Scaillierez, CEO of UK drone trade association ARPAS-UK, said: “Drones help professional teams capture data from the sky in a safer, cheaper, smarter and greener way and, in the future, they will help transport cargo and people. ARPAS-UK and the industry are looking forward to actively and collectively implementing the actions in the plan so that we can accelerate the safe use of drones by end-user industries. We thank the DfT, CAA and all involved parties for making it happen.”


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