What is the Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships Program?
The Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships (EATP) Program is an initiative which aims to encourage adoption of emerging aviation technologies (such as drones, electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft and new aviation propulsion systems) to address community needs, particularly in regional Australia.
The Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships program was announced on 6 May 2021 as part of the Australian Government’s Digital Economy Strategy. The government committed $32.6 million for the program over two years, 2021‑22 and 2022-23, comprising approximately $30.6 million for the establishment of projects under the program and approximately $2 million for costs associated with program administration.
The EATP Program will enable the Australian Government to partner with industry on the development and deployment of emerging aviation technology. It is intended that partnerships will also bring together other parties as required to deliver projects, such as state and territory government agencies, local councils and communities. This will help ensure Australia is positioned to accommodate new aviation operations.
The objectives of the program are to:
- encourage and enable the development and deployment of innovative emerging aviation technologies including identifying and addressing regulatory and other barriers where appropriate;
- demonstrate the benefits of emerging aviation technology to Australian businesses, particularly in regional Australia; and
- enhance the competitiveness, efficiency and reliability of Australian aviation.
Program Focus Areas
The Department of Transport is seeking applications for funding to support the development and application of emerging aviation technology. The Round One grant opportunity has five focus areas, with the option to establish trial projects or conduct research and development. There is no set funding allocation for each focus area, the funding will be used flexibly dependent on the nature of proposals received.
The five focus areas are:
- Digital farming – establish a trial using innovative digital aviation farming technology that is not already in use in the market, to demonstrate economic, productivity, environmental or other benefits for agricultural businesses in Australia.
- Boosting regional supply chains – establish a trial with a regular supply chain link using drones or other emerging aviation technology with capability to travel medium to long distances to deliver critical and /or high turnover supplies from and between regional hubs.
- Connecting regional communities – conduct research to identify what is required from a regulatory perspective to enable operational flight-testing using multi passenger VTOL aircraft or other emerging aviation technology with the capacity to connect a network of regional towns. Proposals may include scope for negotiating and implementing an operational test flight.
- Improving outcomes for regional and remote Indigenous communities
- establish a trial of a regular service from and /or between regional hubs that service a remote Indigenous community using drones or other emerging aviation technology to travel medium to long distance to deliver medical and other essential supplies; and/or
- establish a trial using emerging aviation technology within a regional or remote Indigenous community to address particular needs and facilitate wellbeing – for example, delivery of supplies to remote locations; and/or
- conduct research to identify what is required from a regulatory perspective to enable operational test flights using multi passenger VTOL, or other emerging aviation technology, to transport people (for example patients or medical personnel) over a long distance from and /or between regional hubs that service a remote Indigenous community. Proposals may include scope for negotiating and implementing an operational test flight.
- Growing manufacturing in emerging aviation technology
- develop a prototype for an electric aviation propulsion system (or another fuel source) or any component of an emerging aviation technology airframe. Proposals may include scope for negotiating and implementing an operational test flight.
- conduct research to inform development of a concept for an emerging aviation technology prototype. Proposals may include scope for progressing to prototype development.
$15.3 million has been notionally allocated for this Round One grant opportunity. Total program funding available to support projects under the program is approximately $30.6 million. Program funding will be managed flexibly between the focus areas and grant opportunities, depending on the nature of proposals.
Of the $15.3 million available for this Round One grant opportunity, $13.8 million has been notionally allocated for grant payments and $1.5 million notionally allocated for Commonwealth led procurements, noting funding will be used flexibly dependent on the nature of proposals.
To be eligible your project must address one or more of the focus areas.
Eligible activities must directly relate to your project and can include (but are not limited to):
- conducting trials that undertake rigorous, commercial, and replicable testing of emerging aviation technologies;
- conducting research and development to support your proposal;
- communication and information sharing activities;
- demonstrating the technical viability of your proposal;
- technological development;
- demonstrating the uniqueness of your proposal compared to existing offerings in the market;
- demonstrating the commercial/scalability potential of your proposal in domestic and/or international markets; and
- assisting the government and other partners as outlined in the informal agreement, to address policy, regulatory or other issues related to your proposal.
The program may also approve other activities, to be outlined in your agreement with the Department.
Eligible expenditure items can include:
- the purchase and installation of equipment directly used in the project;
- employee costs specifically related to implementation of the project;
- set-up and administration costs associated with the project;
- travel and accommodation costs associated with the project;
- technical consumables associated with the project;
- specialist technical advice associated with the project;
- crew and technician costs associated with the project; and
- Commonwealth regulatory approvals and service provider charges associated with the project.
Other items may be agreed by the Department.
To be eligible you must:
- have an Australian Business Number (ABN), and
- be registered for the purposes of GST,
and be one of the following entity types:
- a company incorporated in Australia;
- a foreign corporation that can demonstrate how funding will benefit the Australian emerging aviation sector and local businesses and communities;
- a company incorporated by guarantee;
- an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust;
- an incorporated association;
- a partnership;
- a joint (consortia) application with a lead organisation – this may include a partnership with a foreign corporation, or with a local government or state/territory government agency or body, with an eligible body as lead organisation;
- notwithstanding paragraph 4.2, a registered higher education provider for the purposes of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (Cth), that is registered in a provider category that permits the use of the word ‘university’;
- an incorporated not-for-profit organisation;
- an individual; or
- an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and /or Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006
Applications close 31 March 2022.
Grants totalling $18 million have been awarded to 12 projects under round one of the federal Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships (EATP) program. The program commits $32.6 million to June 2024, with the remaining funding to be allocated in its second round. Projects supported in round one include drone deliveries for health centres and integrating a hydrogen fuel cell into a drone.
Round 1 Recipients
|AMSL Aero||Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft manufacturing focusing on regulatory barriers and trials of air ambulance in regional NSW.||NSW|
|Praxis Labs||Develop structural solar surfaces for the wings of an upcoming fleet of Australian electric aircraft.||SA|
|Hover UAV – SORA-Mate||Develop an online risk assessment tool for drone operators.||All|
|Central QLD University||Develop and trial a prototype drone system capable of AI driven weed detection and herbicide spraying (digital farming).||QLD|
|Wedgetail Aerospace Pty Ltd||Large Drone operations in regional Australia including pilot and maintenance qualifications, capability verification and validation.||WA|
|Charles Darwin University||Trial of drone service delivery for health-related items between health centres, remote indigenous communities and very remote outstations in NT. The project will test and validate the effectiveness, efficiency, community acceptance and costs of integrating uncrewed aircraft into health supply chains.||NT|
|Revolution Aerospace Pty Ltd||Research to support and conduct trials to deliver cargo in Whitsunday region using a variety of drones, delivery distances and delivery scenarios; trials to simulate air taxi operations in the Whitsunday region, and research to develop enhanced uncrewed traffic management services..||QLD and VIC|
|Field Master Systems Pty Ltd DFSS||Integrating thermal imaging into drones to detect feral pests.||VIC|
|Swinburne University of Technology (Air Hub)||Design and integrate a hydrogen fuel cell into a drone, with ground and flight testing.||VIC, NSW|
|Marlee Djinda Pty Ltd||Build, certify and integrate a drone with cameras and sensors to deliver a Landcare management program on the lands of the Kanpa community within the Ngaanyatjarra Aboriginal Land Council in Western Australia.||WA|
|Swoop Aero Pty Ltd||Roll out a large-scale multi-role drone logistics network commencing in the Darling Downs south west region and expanding into south east QLD and northern NSW focusing on pathology and medical logistics.||QLD/NSW|
|XROTOR Pty Ltd||Development, testing and trialling of a new propeller design for both emerging and traditional aircraft with reduced noise impact and higher propulsion efficiency compared to traditional propellers.||VIC|