The UK Pursues Largest Automated Drone Superhighway


Focusing on delivering medicines could help win public support for the increase in drone usage as the UK Skyway project rolls out over the next two years.

The UK has designated part of a £273 million funding package towards building a 164-mile Skyway project that will connect towns across the island over the next two years. Once completed, it will become the world’s largest drone superhighway.

The UK has already begun trialing automated drones, and this long-term project is all about scaling those efforts up for businesses. Although drones have been out for a while, using them for business logistics is relatively new.

The plan is for drones to make regular deliveries of medicine and mail to the Isles of Scilly. In addition, Scotland will also receive medicine via drone delivery. This would allow certain patients to receive treatment in their home community rather than having to travel.

Skyway will connect airspace above Reading, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Coventry, and Rugby. Experts envision an expansion of delivery services for multiple parties, including both business and government interests.

See also: AI-Powered Drones Make Sense of the Unknown

The rollout aims to make drone delivery safer

Ground-based sensors provide real-time data on the location of drones, helping traffic management guide drones and avoid collisions among themselves and other landmarks. Right now, the biggest concerns are landing and takeoff because this brings drones in closer contact with people.

In addition, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will also work with the project to help ensure safety. It will help validate progress and ensure safety at each stage. It also provided research into public acceptance of drones, showing that people are far more tolerant of drones when they believe they’re providing for the public good. They demonstrated some concern for noise levels, especially in more rural areas.

However, right now, focusing on delivering goods like medicines could help the UK win public support for the increase in drone usage as they roll out this project over the next two years.

Elizabeth Wallace

About Elizabeth Wallace

Elizabeth Wallace is a Nashville-based freelance writer with a soft spot for data science and AI and a background in linguistics. She spent 13 years teaching language in higher ed and now helps startups and other organizations explain - clearly - what it is they do.

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