UK's first drone 'super highway' to make 165-mile corridor to cut lorry numbers

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Plans are being drawn up to create a drone
Plans are being drawn up to create a drone 'super highway' for carrying cargo and other supplies

Plans are being developed for a drone “super- highway ” to mean fewer lorries on the road.

Telecoms giant BT has announced a £5million investment in a company whose technology could allow long-distance drone deliveries.

The firm, Altitude Angel, is working on a scheme called Project Skyway that would see a 165-mile drone corridor created above Reading, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Coventry and Rugby.

The long-term aim of the project is to connect towns and cites, as well as transport and package delivery hubs across the country using drone networks.

Crucially, the technology will allow different drones - as well as crewed aircraft - to use the same airspace without the risk of crashing into one another.

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UK's first drone 'super highway' to make 165-mile corridor to cut lorry numbersTelecoms giant BT is backing the move through a £5million investment

Most trials of drones until now have involved dedicated airspace and where the controller has sight of it.

Dave Pankhurst, BT Group’s director of drones, who will take a seat on Altitude Angel’s board, said one use could be transport goods in the air that would otherwise go by road.

Richard Parker, founder of Altitude Angel, said: “Combining our Arrow technology, which allows crewed and uncrewed aircraft to share the same skies, safely and securely, with BT Group’s significant communications infrastructure, we can quickly bring Arrow to the masses.

“This will provide the UK with the first nationwide drone superhighways, unlocking the potential of this new and innovative technology and revolutionising business operations in countless industries.”

Mr Pankhurst predicted that the technology could be in use within two years.

However, it still needs regulatory approval.

A number of companies are working on drone deliveries.

Boots last year became the first pharmacy to deliver prescription medicines by drone with flight from near Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight.

Online giant Amazon has worked for years on the concept of drone deliveries in the UK.

However, despite all the hype, the service has yet to get off the ground.

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