£4.5 million of further investment to develop autonomous un-manned air systems technology

01 Apr 2010

The Technology Strategy Board, together with a number of Regional Development Agencies and Devolved Administrations, has agreed to support the next stage of a major research programme that aims to develop and exploit the UK's civil and commercial capabilities in autonomous un-manned air systems technology.

The £4.5m funding from the Technology Strategy Board will support two projects - Separation Assurance & Control and Autonomy & Decision Making - within the second phase of the Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation & Assessment programme, known as ASTRAEA II. Further funding, of up to £10 million, will be provided by some of the Regional Development Agencies and Devolved Administrations. The seven main industrial partners in the programme - Agent Oriented Software Ltd, BAE Systems, Cobham, EADS, QinetiQ, Rolls-Royce plc and Thales UK - will jointly invest a further £16 million.

Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson said today:

"The complete systems approach of the ASTRAEA programme will strengthen the UK's lead and place us in a very strong position to exploit the technology. It will generate commercial benefit for this key British industry, ahead of our competitors."

Explaining the Technology Strategy Board's support for the programme, its Chief Executive, Iain Gray, added:

"We are providing further support to the ASTRAEA programme because it has already developed exciting new technologies that will help to retain the UK's competitive advantage in this growing field. Through the programme's extensive supply chain and its many academic partners, ASTRAEA II will, I am sure, continue to make real progress and will provide significant global opportunities for the British companies involved in the years ahead."

ASTRAEA II will build on the successful ASTRAEA I programme, which ran from 2004 until 2008 and was also supported by the Technology Strategy Board. Discussions are underway with the North West Development Agency, the South East England Development Agency, Scottish Enterprise, the South West Regional Development Agency and the Welsh Assembly Government regarding their financial support for the two projects, and in some cases investment decisions have already been made.

In addition to the seven consortium partners, several British universities and more than 70 small and medium sized enterprises will continue to play a part in the ASTRAEA programme.

For full press release including notes to editors, please follow this link

Companies and other organisations seeking further information about Technology Strategy Board research and development funding opportunities should visit the Competitions page of the Technology Strategy Board website - www.innovateuk.org, email support@innovateuk.org or phone the helpline on 0300 321 4357

Media contact until 5pm Thursday 1st April

Claire Cunningham, Media Relations Manager
Tel: 01793 442901
Mob: 07554 115745
Email: claire.cunningham@tsb.gov.uk

Additional contact
Paul Whittemore, Head of Communications
Tel: 01793 442769
Mob: 07824 599632
E-mail: paul.whittemore@tsb.gov.uk

From April 6th:
Nick Sheppard, Media Consultant
Mobile: 07824 599644
E-mail: nick.sheppard@tsb.gov.uk

 

Last updated on Friday 30 July 2010 at 13:56

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