UK: Britain will be home to the world’s most extensive automated drone superhighway within the next two years.
The drones will be used on the 164-mile skyway project connecting towns and cities, including Cambridge and Rugby. It is part of a £273 million funding package for the aerospace sector, which will be revealed Monday by Trade Secretary Quasi Quartering.
Other projects include drones delivering mail to the Isles of Scilly and medicines across Scotland. Mr Quarteng is to announce the news at the Farnborough International Airshow – to be held for the first time since 2019.
He will say that the funding will “help the sector capture the vast growth opportunities that exist as the world transitions to clean forms of flight”.
Dave Pankhurst, director of drones at BT, said that Skyway is about scaling up trials that have been taking place around the UK. BT is one of the partners involved in the collaboration.
“This drone capability has existed for quite some time but is in its infancy in terms of being part of our society and being a usable application,” he said.
Skynet aims to connect the airfields above Reading, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Coventry and Rugby by the middle of 2024 and will receive over £12m.
A total of £105.5m of government funding will be specifically for projects related to “integrated aviation systems and new vehicle technologies”, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) such as drones.
These projects include plans to use drones to deliver regular mail and medicine to the Isles of Scilly and to deliver drugs across Scotland, potentially helping some cancer patients to be treated in their local community.