The aim of the ASTRAEA programme is to enable the routine use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in all classes of airspace without the need for restrictive or specialised conditions of operation. This will be achieved through the coordinated development and demonstration of key technologies and operating procedures required to open up the airspace to UAS.
ASTRAEA (Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation & Assessment) is a UK industry-led consortium focusing on the technologies, systems, facilities, procedures and regulations that will allow autonomous vehicles to operate safely and routinely in civil airspace over the United Kingdom.
This ground-breaking, £62 million effort is led by an impressive consortium of seven companies: Airbus Defence & Space, AOS, BAE Systems, Cobham, QinetiQ, Rolls-Royce and Thales.
"The ASTRAEA Challenge” by Simon Jewell, Chairman
Anyone reading the press over the last 12 months might be forgiven for thinking that access to airspace for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) was already assured. The burgeoning public fascination with remote-controlled quadcopters, fuelled by widespread availability and a plummeting price point, has become a media cause célèbre. Beyond the headlines and hype, there have been some remarkable success stories – pioneering companies using small UAS to carry out innovative and previously high-risk jobs, such as inspecting flare stacks on offshore oil and gas platforms or pointing new ways forward for farmers who want to understand, through data gathered from the sky, about what crops grow best in which part of their fields.