Satellite operator Inmarsat will provide connectivity services to a United Kingdom government initiative, Project HEART, which aims to build the U.K.’s first automated, zero-carbon regional air transportation network by 2025.
Project HEART, which stands for “Hydrogen, Electric, and Automated Regional Transportation,” will develop hydrogen-powered, automated and remote piloting solutions for small aircraft carrying between 9 and 19 passengers, travelling a distance of fewer than 500 nautical miles.
Inmarsat will contribute satellite services to a hybrid connectivity solution that the U.K. government will use for remote “digital” co-piloting and critical communication in the aircraft cockpits. The network is also expected to include a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform.
The UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) directs a consortium of U.K. technologies on the Project HEART initiative, which is funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Future Flight Challenge (FFC). Inmarsat representatives could not be reached for comment concerning the the financial details of their participation.
In a public statement, the operator said the connectivity solution will be evaluated on Britten-Norman-designed aircraft and that as many as 100 licensed U.K. airfields will eventually take part in the initiative. The operator will work alongside its technology partner Honeywell Aerospace to complete the network buildout.
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