Fleetondemand’s market-leading Mobilleo platform has been chosen to provide a MaaS solution for the UK’s first zero-carbon sub-regional air transportation network.
Project HEART (Hydrogen Electric and Automated Regional Transportation) is a ground-breaking new initiative by the UK government that enables hydrogen-electric powered light aircraft to carry between 9 and 19 passengers on short journeys of less than 500 nautical miles. Up to 100 licensed airfields throughout the UK will be available as part of the initiative, which is due to enter service in 2025.
The project will introduce new Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and remote digital co-piloting operating models. Other developments include hydrogen fuel cell powertrains and autonomy for aircraft and autonomous ground robots that ‘guide’ aircraft, automate baggage handling and handle refuelling.
The Project HEART consortium comprises some of the UK’s leading research, technology and aviation companies. They will be carrying out the project under the Future Flight Challenge sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). In addition to Fleetondemand, the HEART consortium members include Blue Bear Systems Research, ZeroAvia, Loganair, Highland and Islands Airports Ltd, Britten-Norman, Inmarsat, Protium, Weston Williamson & Partner, and The Transport Research Institute of Edinburgh Napier University.
The HEART consortium was awarded £1.86 million for the project from Innovate UK to match its own £1.86 million contribution. The award was funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). The ISCF was created to provide funding and support to UK businesses and researchers and is part of the government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over the next 4 years.
A bespoke version of the Mobilleo application will integrate the simulated sub-regional flight options alongside local multi-modal ground travel options already available within the platform. Working closely with Edinburgh Napier University School of Engineering and the Built Environment, the platform will be distributed to test users as part of wide-ranging research into travel behaviour, attitudes towards sub-regional flight and potential for future commercial adoption. MaaS is expected to be a key enabler of cleaner, more sustainable travel as these new modes are developed.
Ross Basnett, Strategic Account Director at Mobilleo, commented: “We are proud to be a part of this innovative project, which represents an important step towards decarbonising and automating passenger flights and supporting the future of sustainable aviation. In addition to the environmental benefits, the convenient zero-carbon travel option will improve safety, enable scalability, reduce operating costs, lower ticket prices and provide shorter door-to-door travel times.”