Project BLUEPRINT: Revolutionising the Future with Safe Drone Integration
Project BLUEPRINT is aligned with the Future of Flight Industry Group and is funded by the UK Research and Innovation’s Future Flight Challenge; a £300 million programme aimed at catalysing innovation in the UK aviation sector. The project is a collaborative effort that brings together diverse expertise from over ten partner companies, including renowned aerospace universities, traffic management providers, avionics and platform manufacturers, as well as drone operators.
In the near future, drones will become an integrated part of our lives, delivering vital medical supplies, monitoring air quality, and revolutionising various industries. However, there are several challenges that need to be addressed for this seamless integration, including:
- The development of a regulatory framework for stakeholders to operate safely and effectively, which includes guidance and support surrounding technology, systems and supporting infrastructure.
- Addressing public safety and security concerns about the use of drones, particularly in urban environments.
The “Project BLUEPRINT” consortium was formed to provide the industry with a set of ‘blueprints’ to facilitate the successful integration of drones and crewed aircraft into the same airspace. This will be achieved through the introduction of designated “Drone Zones”, designed to define how drones can operate safely and efficiently.
These specially designated drone zones will replace the existing practice of using temporary and segregated volumes of airspace for drone operations, which will contribute to scaling “beyond visual line of sight” operations beyond segregated airspace, leading to a new era of commercial drone usage that benefits businesses, consumers, and society together.
Our team is leveraging their expertise in aviation safety to create a safety assurance argument in alignment with the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems (JARUS) Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) methodology to guide regulation and standards consistent with an industry-recognised process. By collaborating with project stakeholders, including the CAA and other relevant organisations, we contribute our deep understanding of aviation safety to help shape the regulatory framework and operational guidelines for drones in the shared airspace.
By working alongside other consortium members, we are helping to ensure that the integration of drones into shared airspace is not only technologically feasible but also meets the highest standards of safety and security. Our contribution is essential in establishing the necessary protocols, operational procedures, and risk mitigation strategies to enable the safe and scalable integration of drones across the UK.
With the seamless integration of drones into everyday life, critical medical supplies can be swiftly and efficiently delivered to remote areas. Search and rescue operations can be significantly enhanced through drone assistance, while real-time air quality monitoring will provide invaluable insights for environmental management.
These advancements have the potential to save lives, optimise logistics, and create new avenues for growth and innovation in various industries.
Project BLUEPRINT aims to support the expansion of “Drone Zones” and ultimately lead to a situation where shared airspace becomes business as usual across the United Kingdom. As the project progresses, valuable insights and data derived from trials and demonstrations will inform regulators and industry stakeholders worldwide, guiding the seamless integration of drones into their respective airspace.
We are committed to advancing aviation safety and supporting the innovative use of drone technology. Our collaboration with other industry leaders within the Project BLUEPRINT consortium contributes to the development of best practices and regulatory frameworks that will benefit not only the UK but also serve as a model for other countries aiming to integrate drones into their airspace.