Cranfield University and Thales have announced plans to work closely in partnership to unlock the potential of new aviation technologies.

The Government’s recent Aerospace Sector Deal highlighted the potential for the U.K. in developing future aviation technology, with a previous study by PwC revealing that drone technology has the potential to increase UK GDP by 2 percent by 2030.

The agreement, signed at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at U.K. RAF Fairford, will see the two organisations explore closer collaboration in areas such as unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and unmanned traffic management (UTM), aerial and ground autonomous systems, airspace data communications and digital aviation security.

Victor Chavez, Chief Executive of Thales U.K., said:  “Together, we will develop pioneering technologies and innovate to drive sustainable aviation, including entirely new air transport systems and enhanced passenger experience. Our agreement with Cranfield University today opens the door to the next era of digital aviation.”

The two organisations are already working closely together, as partners in the £67 million Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) and the National Beyond visual line of sight Experimentation Corridor (NBEC).