Advanced Air Mobility

Australia Awards First Round of Emerging Technologies Funding

Australia Awards First Round of Emerging Technologies Funding

The Australian Government has awarded US$11.6 million to 12 eVTOL, drone and technology companies under the first round of its Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships (EATP) program.

EATP is a government-industry partnership initiative aimed at encouraging and enabling the development and deployment of emerging aviation technologies in Australia to increase the competitiveness, efficiency and reliability of aviation. It is focused on using emerging aviation technology to address community needs, especially in regional Australia.

The program will commit US$20.9 million in funding over two years through to 30 June 2024, with a second round expected to follow shortly. Projects are assessed through an open and competitive grant process.

Recipients of funding in the first round include Australian eVTOL developer AMSL Aero with a project focused on regulatory barriers to and trials of eVTOL-based air ambulance operations in regional New South Wales. AMSL is developing the Vertiia eVTOL, with a full-scale prototype expected to start flight tests in regional Australia this year. In addition to developing a five-seat eVTOL, AMSL is developing a version for medical transportation, which will be able to carry a patient and three crew. The company has a development partnership with Australian aeromedical operator CareFlight for the medical version.

Other winners include Praxis Labs, which is developing a structural solar surface for the wings of electric aircraft; XROTOR for the development, testing and trials of a new, reduced noise, improved efficiency propeller for emerging and traditional aircraft; Revolution Aerospace for cargo and air taxi trials in the Whitsunday region of Queensland; and Swinburne University of Technology for the design and integration of a hydrogen fuel cell for drones.

A number of solutions focused on medical logistics and cargo delivery using eVTOLs received awards, including Swoop Aero for a large-scale, multi-role drone logistics network focusing on pathology and medical logistics; and Charles Darwin University for health-related delivery system using drones between health centres and remote indigenous communities. Other recipients are focusing on land management and environmental projects, including Central Queensland University with an artificial intelligence-driven drone trial to detect weeds and conduct spraying, and Field Master Systems with a solution to integrate thermal imaging into drones to detect feral pests.

“The Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships Programme will ensure our aviation sector remains at the forefront of innovation as it continues to develop and grow, particularly with the renewed focus on achieving net-zero carbon emissions,” says Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King. “This programme will directly support regional communities in improving health services and connections, as well as enhancing the capabilities of Australian businesses in delivering new aviation operations with increased technical complexity,” King adds.