Infrastructure giants unite to develop advanced drone system for the urban environment | Costain

John McKenna, CEO of said:“The Future Flight Challenge funding will accelerate us towards a future where drones fly autonomously at scale – high up alongside manned aviation and low down inside our industrial sites, suburbs and cities. Unlocking the safe and remote operation of drones in urban and industrial locations will deliver huge benefits to society across public health & safety, efficiency, and environmental impact. We are enormously proud to be leading this consortium and to be working with such incredible partners to develop this advanced Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) aviation system.”

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The consortium is comprised of sixteen companies (including made up of technical contributors, drone service providers and end-clients. The technical contributors are: NATS, Vodafone, BAE Systems, The Met Office, Flock Cover, UAM Consult Ltd and University of Bristol. The drone service providers are Terra Drone and Sky-Futures (two of the world’s leading drone service providers). The end-clients are Atkins; Skanska; Skanska Costain STRABAG working in partnership with HS2; Sellafield; Vodafone; Network Rail; and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.

ABOUT SEES.AI is a UK-based Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) pioneer, focussed on developing the leading Enterprise BVLOS Command & Control Solution for drone service providers. is the only entity selected into both the CAA Regulatory Sandbox (one of only ten entities alongside Boeing and Amazon) and the UK Government Drone Pathfinder backed by the Department for Transport, the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy and the CAA.

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UK Research and Innovation is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas. For more information visit


The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aims to bring together the UK’s world leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time. The fund was created to provide funding and support to UK businesses and researchers, part of the government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over the next four years. It was designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy. It is run by UK Research and Innovation.


Innovate UK is investing up to £30m in innovation projects as part of Phase 2 of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Future Flight Challenge. The Future Flight Challenge is a four year, £125m ISCF programme.

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Phase 2 will fund projects that develop integrated aviation systems and/or vehicle technologies that enable new classes of electric or autonomous air vehicles. These could include drones, urban air mobility vehicles or electric sub-regional aircraft. Solutions should be able to be integrated into a mature operational environment, ensuring safe and reliable operation in flight and on the ground.


Terra Drone Europe is part of the Terra Drone Group, one of the world’s largest providers of commercial drone services with over 250 employees in more than 25 countries. Terra Drone is a provider of geographic data acquisition, industrial inspections, and high-end aerial imagery using unmanned aircraft (UAVs). We bundle extensive knowledge and experience in geodesy, topographic surveying, CVI and thermal inspections, aerial imagery and 3D visualisations into one company. By taking quality and safety seriously, we ensure a successful and safe execution of operations in the challenging environments of our clients, both on- and offshore. We operate worldwide and have offices in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Terra Drone will provide expert input and feedback into the system design, and then lead on operations and planning for Skanska Costain STRABAG working in partnership with HS2.

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