The accelerator programme will invest in startups developing autonomous and AI solutions aimed at solving challenges faced by the aerospace industry


Aerospace Xelerated is a funded programme to support autonomy and AI startups engaged in advancing the future of aerospace. (Credit: ysn Benz from Pixabay)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has entered into a partnership with Aerospace Xelerated for supporting startups that are using autonomy and artificial intelligence (AI) to solve challenges in the aerospace sector.

Through the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), the MOD has joined Aerospace Xelerated as a new programme partner.

Led by aerospace company Boeing, Aerospace Xelerated is a three-month funded accelerator programme. It was previously called ATI Boeing Accelerator.

Aerospace Xelerated managing partner and Boeing global accelerators and innovation programmes head Nichola Bates said: “As a programme, we’ve already been fortunate enough to work with the DASA team as mentors and experts, and I’m delighted they’ve joined as the lead for MOD’s partnership in our third year.

“They bring not only their expertise to our cohort but also provide access to wider MOD capabilities. There is a great opportunity for startups applying to our programme to learn from the team and make valuable connections that will make a difference to their businesses.”

The accelerator programme will invest in startups developing autonomous and AI solutions that advance the manner in which aircraft are built, right from the factory floor to the passenger journey.

Startups selected in the programme will get an equity investment of £100K from Boeing, additional perks of over £100K, and access to future programme partners, investors, among other benefits.

DASA, on behalf of the MOD, will support startups by offering insights and access to front line commands. The agency will align the startups with the interest of MOD in national security and innovation priorities.

DASA head Anita Friend said: “The MOD is keen to understand how early engagement between start-ups and MOD in programmes such as this can lead to improved outcomes for Defence and for the companies involved.

“By partnering in Aerospace Xelerated and helping the companies understand the needs and opportunities provided by Defence, we hope to accelerate our own learning as well as theirs.”

For its third cohort that runs from January 2022 to April 2022, Aerospace Xelerated is inviting applications from startups working on assured autonomy, autonomous navigation, smart maintenance, generative design, adaptive learning, reduced workload, and aerospace AI applications.

The two previous cohorts of the accelerator programmed had raised £20m in additional funding, while generating more than 100 jobs across the UK, said the MOD.