Large UAS – Opportunities for Air Cargo and Air Taxi

Ad de Graaff, AD Cuenta BV, Netherlands, presented at Royal Aeronautical Society.

This is the introduction of the presentation.

In 1986 the European airframe industry asked the European Commission to provide financial support for civil aircraft R&D in view of the increasing public R&D funding in the USA. The Commission requested a study to support the claim which was published in 1988 (The Euromart report). This was soon followed by Long Term Technology Programs (LTTP) prepared by the engine and equipment industry as well as the European aeronautical research establishments. Based on these plans the Commission started to support pre-competitive research for civil aeronautics in the second so called Framework Program (1989-1992). This support was continued at increasing funding levels in successive Framework Programs. In 1997 the industries and the research community made an integrated research proposal which was the basis for substantially increased research and validation support of € 700 million in Framework Program 5 (1999-2002).

However the Commission felt that something extra was needed. The Commission had no insight in other European public and private aeronautical research and thus could not verify if EC funded research was complementary to national efforts. It also wanted a more strategic approach by setting quantitative targets for future air transport for which research would be needed. In 2000 it created a High Level Group that set targets for 2020 in terms of time efficient travel, quality and affordability, environment, safety and security. The Group also recommended creating a permanent stakeholder platform to prioritize research. Thus the ACARE (Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe) was born. ACARE created working groups in which all stakeholders and individual experts were participating. In 2002 and 2004 ACARE produced Strategic Research Agenda’s which were used by the Commission as guideline for research and demonstration topics to be investigated in the Framework Program 6 and 7 .

Initiated by the Commission in 2010 a new High Level Group set targets for air transport and aeronautics in 2050, which was followed by a new Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda by ACARE. In preparing the new strategic agenda, unmanned air transport vehicles were discussed at length. ACARE predicted that before 2050 the first application of unpiloted transport aircraft would be UAS for air cargo and small passenger transport aircraft.


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