Governments across the world are exploring how future flight technologies can support the movement of goods and people. Electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) air taxi flights are planned for the 2024 Paris Olympics and groceries are being delivered by drones in Australia.

A woman looking up at a large drone above her

In the UK, the Future Flight Vision and Roadmap envisages a role for drones and eVTOL in everyday transport systems. If, where, and how we might use such technologies is yet to be decided - making this a key point in time for discussion and debate.

However, involving a general audience in this debate is challenging, as future flight technologies are unfamiliar and of little relevance to our current lives.

We need to help people to understand the new technologies and their potential uses so that people can help guide the decisions that might benefit or impact where they live. Different places may see the opportunities and challenges of future flight technologies differently.

Interactive engagement

The Future Flight in Place research project uses interactive engagement tools developed using real-world data that locates the technologies in the places people live.

A group of people playing the drone board game

These include:

  • A virtual reality (VR) experience providing a realistic audio-visual representation of logistics drones and eVTOL flying across the place where participants live.
  • A digital game that explores where delivery drones might fly that uses real-world data on energy use, risk and location features.
  • A place-based board game that explores logistic drone missions and engages participants in discussion including where drones fly and what type of items they might carry.
  • A sorting activity that engages participants with governance and regulatory considerations.

Workshops will take place in Autumn/Winter 2023 in Boscombe (Bournemouth), Truro, and Coventry.

The tools being used in Future Flight in Place build upon those developed as part of the E-Drone research project.

Informing policy development

Through this research we will gather responses to future flight technologies from a range of communities.

These will be analysed to understand how these vary from place to place and between different social groups, contributing to the evidence base which will help to inform the development of policy around the use of future flight technologies.

A young boy and an adult looking at iPads with the project team observing
Helping people understand the potential impact of future flight technologies