BOXARR joins DARTeC to build the future of digital aviation

Updated: Oct 11, 2021


The Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) is being built at Cranfield University and will spearhead the UK’s research into digital aviation technology. The Centre is part of three major Cranfield University themes: Transport Systems, Aerospace, and Manufacturing.


Digital aviation has often been cited as being the next significant business transformation event of the sector and one which can support the industry towards delivering greater customer satisfaction while addressing efficiency, cost, and capacity issues.


However, while many of the challenges of digital aviation are understood individually, there are very few opportunities to address them simultaneously within a collaborative research and technology environment.


DARTeC will offer that opportunity by creating a ‘research ecosystem' underpinned by Cranfield’s global research airport and the University’s newly-opened autonomous vehicle research facility.


Addressing the digital aviation challenge, DARTeC’s five primary research areas will be:

  1. Connected systems – developing digital systems that will operate at speeds that the current Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) and the Aircraft Condition Monitoring System (ACMS) are not capable of producing.

  2. Unmanned traffic management – developing airspace management solutions that will bring higher levels of system resilience, safety, and security while adapting to competition from UAVs to operate in the same airspace.

  3. Seamless passenger experience – developing a more personalised, intuitive, and less stressful passenger experience by using digital integrated technology to examine challenges such as unified security, the elimination of triple waiting areas, optimised passenger flows, and baggage separation.

  4. Distributed airport and airspace management - developing the next generation of air traffic control in an environment of steadily increasing air traffic density and ‘on-demand requests.

  5. Conscious aircraft – developing technology and systems that would allow aircraft to monitor its current health, allowing it to reliably predict the useful life of components and systems, while automatically adapting to optimise their remaining life.

Game-changing technologies such as a virtual air traffic control tower and next-generation radar technologies on the University’s licensed airport create a unique research and development environment. BOXARR will join the DARTeC consortium of leading aerospace and aviation companies including Thales, Raytheon, SAAB, Boeing UK, Aveillant, and Cranfield University.