New funding for UAV aircraft

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has announced £16m of funding to support a national programme of UAV (Unmanned Aviation Vehicles) that should mean major innovations for the police and fire services.

Aug 10, 2006
By David Howell
Iain Packer

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has announced £16m of funding to support a national programme of UAV (Unmanned Aviation Vehicles) that should mean major innovations for the police and fire services.

The investment forms part of the £32 million ASTRAEA, (Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation and Assessment) programme, that will collectively strengthen the UK`s pedigree in UAV technology. Unmanned craft could revolutionise police and fire service surveillance, coastal surveillance, power and pipeline inspections and mobile phone and broadband services, which currently rely on manned aircraft. However in the future, these tasks could be undertaken by unmanned aircraft with the technology to sense and avoid other objects.

Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alistair Darling said: “ASTRAEA is a significant programme for the UK in establishing our credentials in the rapidly growing field of UAV development. It will strengthen collaboration across industry, universities and regulatory authorities, positioning the UK amongst the world`s leaders in UAV technology.

“This programme is an example of how leading private sector businesses and universities can work with government to deliver projects, which will lead to developments offering real economic and cost-effective solutions in areas such as environmental monitoring and security. ASTRAEA also represents a good example of collaboration between the DTI and the regional bodies supporting technology programmes, which will provide knowledge transfer and employment opportunities in the regions.”

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