Medical supplies to hit the skies with UK drone “super highway”

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A new drone “super highway” will hit the skies in the UK creating a new era for the transportation of medical supplies and green transportation. 

The UK government announced a network of drone superhighways to be built in the UK to link cities and towns throughout the midlands, south east and elsewhere. The highway will support the transport of medical goods and mail. 

Dubbed ‘Project Skyway’, it aims to support business growth through the development and commercialisation of new products, processes, and services.

The UK Government unveiled the project at Farnborough Air Show on 18 July.

Project Skyway is backed by a consortium led by Reading-based UTM (Unified Traffic Management) solution provider, Altitude Angel, and telco company BT which is supplying connectivity via its EE network. The group will build and develop 165 miles (265km) of ‘drone superhighways’ connecting airspace above Reading, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Coventry, and Rugby over the next two years, Drone and UAV Service company Altitude Angel says. 

In a press release by Altitude Angel, company CEO Richard Parker said: “The capability we are deploying and proving through Skyway can revolutionise the way we transport goods and travel in a way not experienced since the advent of the railways did in the 18th century: the last ‘transport revolution’.” 

Dave Pankhurst, BT’s Director of Drones, said: “The social and economic potential of drones is immense and requires close industry collaboration to fully unlock these opportunities in a safe and responsible way.”

Mail and medical supplies to take flight

The UK Government revealed £273m for the aerospace sector. Funded projects relating to the super highway include.  

  • Project HEART: £10 million to explore using aircraft powered by hydrogen or electricity to open up greener regional connectivity across the UK
  • Open Skies Cornwall: £2.4 million to work with Royal Mail and NHS Kernow to use drones to provide residents on the Isles of Scilly with regular, reliable deliveries of mail and medical supplies
  • Scotland-based CAELUS 2: £10.1 million to use electric drones to support the distribution of medical products and medicines across Scotland, including helping to treat cancer patients in their local community, rather than requiring them to travel
  • Skyway, in Reading: £12.9 million to use drones to quickly and efficiently survey infrastructure, such as motorways and ports. 

 

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