Windracers Gains Third Funding Round from UKRI’s Future Flight
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M Crosby
Cargo drone developer Windracers has announced a third round of successful funding obtained from UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Future Flight challenge, a program funding technological advancements.
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Future Flight’s phase 3 projects share £73 million in funding for the development of integrated aviation systems and new vehicle technologies.This new round of funding will enable Windracers to carry out additional testing of its middle mile logistics drones and autopilot technology.
Alongside partner Royal Mail, Windracers has completed a series of trials as part of the UKRI-funded Sustainable Aviation Test Environment (SATE) project. As part of the project, Windracers conducted test flights on the Shetland Islands and Orkney Islands. With this new funding, the company will be able to carry out additional trials across further locations in Scotland, as well as work with the Civil Aviation Authority to develop a safe regulatory environment for autonomous flight.
Windracers is also leading a separate project called Protecting Environments with UAV Swarms. With support from NERC British Antarctic Survey and Lancashire Fire and Rescue, the goal of the project is to exemplify the application of swarms of large UAVs in conducting Antarctic research and combating fires in some of the world’s harshest environments.
“We are extremely proud to be among this world-class group of companies that are developing the technology and infrastructure for autonomous flight,” said Windracers CEO Charles Scales . “The UK has a long history of innovation in aviation and boasts a highly competent and pragmatic regulatory authority. Combined with recognition and support from the UK Government, we are very well placed to lead the industrialisation of drone technology worldwide.”
Windracers’ twin-engine UAV, possessing a 10 meter wingspan and maximum payload capacity of 100kg over 1000km, is able to operate even during harsh weather conditions. The aircraft makes use of a Distributed Avionics’ high-reliability autopilot system and Masterless™ control architecture. The UAV was developed with a Zero Single Point of Failure philosophy, allowing it to adapt to flight control and flight system failures.
Windracers recently announced a partnership with Royal Mail that will establish over 50 new postal drone routes over the course of the next three years, subject to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approval. Royal Mail intends to reduce its carbon footprint using the lower-emission drones, while simultaneously improving the reliability of island mail services which are often impacted by harsh weather conditions. Royal Mail seeks to deploy a fleet of over 500 Windracers ULTRA drones throughout the UK.
Read more about drone industry funding:
- Dedrone Funding: Oversubscribed $30 Million Series C Round for Airspace Security
- Welcome to WonderLand: Wonder Robotics Scores Seed Funding for Drone Equipment that Clears the Way for Landing
- Censys Funding: Over $8 Million in Series A for BVLOS Fixed Wing Drone
- Wingcopter Funding: $42 Million in Latest Round, Over $60 Million Total for Drone Delivery
- Volocopter Raises $170 Million in Series E Funding, Following $200 Million Last Year
- Flytrex Funding Round Will Let Company Expand Drone Delivery Across the US
Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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