A vision of the future of air travel has been set out by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) agency.
Compiled by leading experts from industry, academia and government, the Future Flight Vision and Roadmap sets out how zero emission air travel could be common within a decade.
UKRI’s future flight deputy challenge director Simon Masters commented: “Achieving accessible, safe, sustainable transport will be a key element in the fight against climate change. That’s why in the year of COP26, UKRI is setting out what it thinks air travel should look like in 2030.
“Some of the concepts in this roadmap might seem a little further away than 2030, but the future is closer than you think. We’re already seeing some these ideas put into practice, with the UK’s first vertical take-off airport months from opening and a hybrid air travel trial taking place in Scotland at this very moment.”
One of the key elements of the roadmap is the use of hydrogen or electrically powered aircraft to provide short journeys for up to 10 people. These vertical-take-off air taxis would eliminate carbon emissions, ease congestion in UK cities and reduce journey times for travellers.
The same is true of the increased use of drones by emergency services and for delivering goods. These will provide rapid and convenient access to everyday goods and services, while also supporting emergency services in undertaking complex inspections and operations.
Also in the roadmap are sustainably powered small aircraft to provide short regional flights, providing transportation between towns and cities and serving more remote communities. These would then link in with other transport modes within a city, allowing for a seamless, end to end travel experience.
The publication of the roadmap comes as aviation company Ampaire launches a week of hybrid electric light aircraft flight trials. The company, which is part of the UKRI-funded Sustainable Aviation Test Environment (SATE) project, recently undertook a demonstration flight where one of its hybrid electric EEL aircraft completed a 30-minute journey from Kirkwall in the Orkney Isles to Wick airport in the North of Scotland.
in Coventry as part of its 2021 City of Culture programme the Air-One project, led by Urban-Air Port and supported by Coventry City Council is working on setting up the world’s smallest airport.
Specifically designed to support electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft this pop-up airport can be deployed in days, in an area 60% smaller than a standard helipad and with minimal impact on the environment.