August 2006 – ASTRAEA (for Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation & Assessment) is a UK industry-led consortium focusing on the technologies, systems, facilities and procedures that will allow autonomous vehicles to operate safely and routinely in civil airspace over the United Kingdom.
This ground-breaking, £32 million (US$61 million) effort to make UAVs a common sight in UK skies has attracted an impressive consortium of companies including Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, EADS, Thales, QinetiQ and Agent Oriented Software, the only SME (small to medium-sized enterprise) to be an ASTRAEA partner.
The AOS partnership role is a consequence of its expertise in the core technology of autonomy and decision-making. AOS's JACK™ software provides UAVs with the autonomous, decision-making power they must have to operate safely and routinely in commercial airspace.
Over the next five years, ASTRAEA will cover three main themes: technology development and maturation; regulatory process development; and systems integration and flight demonstration. These are the key elements in the breakthrough needed to make commercial UAV operations, such as small packet freight, or surveillance, a reality.
"It's only a matter of time and technology before UAVs populate our airspace safely and efficiently," said AOS Founder and Managing Director Andrew Lucas, "and ASTRAEA is blazing the developmental trail. Our combined efforts over the next five years will set operational standards for the rest of the world to follow."