The £67 million Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) under construction at Cranfield University is growing its ecosystem with new aerospace, systems management and infrastructure innovation companies joining the project.

BOXARR, Inmarsat and Blue Bear Systems Research have joined the consortium as members and the Connected Places Catapult, Satellite Applications Catapult and International Air Transport Association (IATA) have all joined as strategic observers.

The new partners represent a broadening of DARTeC’s community and bolster its focus on interconnectivity and systems integration around emerging digital technologies.

Professor Graham Braithwaite, Project Lead and Director of Transport Systems at Cranfield, said: “This is an exciting time for DARTeC, with construction of the building at Cranfield’s global research airport now underway. We are delighted to welcome our new partners and look forward to working together to grow our ecosystem and advance the application of innovative technologies across the aviation sector.”

DARTeC aims to address the research challenges facing the aviation industry such as:

•         the integration of drones into civilian airspace;

•         increasing the efficiency of airports through technological advances;

•         creating safe, secure shared airspace through secure data communication infrastructures;

•         increasing the reliability and availability of aircraft through self-sensing, self-aware technologies.

Game-changing technologies such as the first operational digital air traffic control tower in the UK and next-generation radar technologies on the University’s licensed airport create a unique research and development environment.

Fraser Hamilton, VP for Global Alliances, BOXARR, said: "The burgeoning digitisation of aviation brings enormous opportunities for innovation across the sector. However, there is also significant potential for risk; as equipment, software, process, and humans become increasingly inter-dependent. BOXARR's engagement with DARTeC enables us to work in collaboration with partners to optimise the performance and resilience of future aviation ecosystems."

Ian Williams-Wynn, MD of Blue Bear Systems Research, said: “The increasing speed of transformation in the aviation industry is driving new ways to do business. Innovation is being embraced and rapid advances in technology are creating a paradigm shift. DARTeC provides an exciting opportunity enabling the understanding of how such changes can be realised for maximum benefit to UK PLC and the wider aerospace industry.”

The new partners join Aveillant, Cranfield University, the IVHM Centre, Saab and Thales in the consortium which has also received co-investment support from Research England. DARTeC is due to open in 2020.

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About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.