Q-DOS light: Quantum key distribution for Drones with Optimal Size, weight and power

Lead Participant: Airbus Group Limited


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have seen a huge increase in commercial uptake in recent years, but their applications have been limited, in part by the inability to securely communicate sensitive data back to the ground. Current encryption methods are becoming increasingly insecure due to advances in computing capability. Project Q-DOS light (Quantum key distribution for Drones with Optimal Size weight and power), led by Airbus, will solve this rapidly growing problem by delivering a low-weight, high-speed free-space optical communication system with highly secure quantum encryption and eavesdropping detection. The system will be demonstrated in flight using a small drone (under 7kg) communicating with a ground-station and will therefore have to use novel, integrated, quantum devices in order to meet challenging Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) requirements. Once proven, this technology will become an essential building block of secure communication payloads for future aircraft and spacecraft systems.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Airbus Group Limited, LONDON £143,316 £ 71,659


University of Oxford, United Kingdom £252,319
Airbus Operations Limited, BRISTOL £26,788 £ 13,394
University of Bristol, United Kingdom £253,911
Kets Quantum Security Ltd, Bristol £553,214 £ 387,250
Id Quantique Ltd, Wimbledon Village £164,172 £ 114,920


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