Future Flight

AutoDrone is a proposed programme under the UK Industrial Challenge Strategy funded (ICSF), Future Flight programme. AutoDrone, formerly known as ADaaS (Autonomous Drones as a Service), was a participant in the first phase of the Future Flight programme managed by Innovate UK and the KTN (Knowledge Transfer Network). Epitomical led the AutoDrone, including project scoping, partner onboarding as well as coordination across all stages of the proposed programme.

The overarching objective of the programme is to study, design, simulate, develop and demonstrate (BVLoS) autonomous drone services, with a view to commercialisation at scale, in the UK and beyond, across multiple market segments including Agriculture, Healthcare, Transport, Logistics, Construction and Infrastructure.


The AutoDrone Consortium is led by Epitomical, a UK founded specialist in Autonomous Systems and Services. The project consortium is made up a complementary group of leading UK and Multinational companies, Research Organisations and end-users.

The consortium possesses key technology, regulatory and commercial expertise as well as proven end-user market knowledge and reach, directly applicable to the Future Flight opportunity focused on Autonomous Drone Services. The consortium partners have come together to form the complete value chain in delivering autonomous drone services (i.e. ‘autonomous drone airline’) in the UK with the ambition to expand internationally. 

Project Objectives & Outcomes

1. Market Study

Study, segment and quantify the market opportunity for Autonomus Drone services in the UK, Europe and beyond. (Target vertical markets - Transport & Logistics, Healthcare, Construction & Infrastructure, Agriculture).

2. Use Case Description

Identify potential use cases for each vertical market and prioritise (1 to 3) for detailed use case and value proposition development.

3. Specifications

Develop service descriptions and technical specifications to deliver use case driven services for each vertical market.

4. Technical Design Documents

Capture technical specifications for drone platforms required to deliver services together with a detailed roadmap for development of drone platform(s).

5. Technical Design Documents

Design AutoDrone integration into current aviation airspace as well as ground infrastructure, communications technology and supplementary data models.

6. Design Documents

Identify Infrastructure requirements for service delivery as well drone operations and maintenance via pop or portable ports (As well as existing airports (or runways) where applicable).

7. Workshops & Report

Study current Regulatory, Legal and Insurance frameworks, identify gaps and provide recommendations to realise AutoDrone services in the UK market.

8. Workshops & Report

Public Perception: study and understand market & consumer perception of autonomous drone services with a specific focus on objections, concerns and benefits (i.e. Safety, Congestion, Geographic Areas, Services).

9. Demonstrations

Deliver multiple small scale demonstrations (e.g. Use Case(s). Simulation and innovative technology).

10. Report

Develop the AutoDrone Business Plan (including the FF Phase 3 Plan).

Project Elements and Owners

The project consortium will follow a phased process for innovation which first defines the challenge (Discovery), followed by a series of agile development phases delivering valuable functionality quickly (Delivery).

Consortium partners will work together to grain a detailed understanding of the identified challenge, to ensure the result meets end-user needs.

Risk Management Process

The process relies on qualitative risk assessment model which is more suitable to be used for a commercially driven business project rather than using a highly mathematical quantitative analysis. It includes the necessary feedback loop as an iterative process to risk management.

The elements contained within this process are:

  • Risk Management Planning - The initial work performed to identify the risk management approach to be used on the project and the project specific assessment criteria.
  • Risk Identification - The process of identifying the potential sources of risk both initially and on an ongoing basis.
  • Qualitative Risk Assessment - The process of actually assessing the risk against the program assessment criteria.
  • Risk Response Planning - The creative process of identifying the risk response strategy that will be used and the detailed risk response plan(s) (What will be done or not done) for each risk identified. This planning includes identifying the trigger event that will cause the risk response plan to be executed.
  • Risk Monitoring and Control - The process of monitoring for a risk event occurrence, reassessing the risk (likelihood and consequence) and monitoring the performance of the risk response plan and reporting the results.

We will lead the market leaders and stakeholder teams to evaluate use-cases, markets and services by taking into account the systems, processes, data and technologies required to address them through three stages. These are Explore, Ideate and Define as shown above. This ensures a robust set of requirements and a business case to progress to the development and demonstration phase of the project.

The collaborative approach enables a wide range of people to make a creative contribution in the formulation and solution of a problem. Through this process, conversations and a flow of divergence followed by convergence among partners and wider stakeholders can take place. This will be facilitated, which will pave the way for communication, creativity, sharing of insights and also testing of new ideas. This facilitation will be done through following activities during the project.

  • Team alignment activities
  • Co-design workshops
  • A common space: the War room
  • Process: transparent and shared

The outcomes of this innovation process will be service designs based on the list of requirements (functionality), technical design assumptions, stories/epics, business cases based on the markets and Illustrative user journey maps.

Consumer Vision 2030

Industry Vision 2030

2030 Use Cases