Drone Rollout Across the UK
The aviation industry has been beset with the problem of how to integrate drones Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) into the national airspace system for over a decade. Regulators, internationally, worried at the risk of aircraft on aircraft collisions have restricted drone flights to Visual Line Of Sight (VLOS), which has massively constrained drone market growth and potential, and many humanitarian use cases.
A consortium of leading pioneers in this innovative space has now come together not only to resolve the ‘BVLOS problem’, but to do so in an open and collaborative manner. The consortium will take its first step in being open, by open sourcing the blueprint at each stage of its development, such that other companies and consortia can comment on, criticise, contribute to and integrate their products and services, ready for beginning a full UK rollout in 2024.
Companies and Organisations Involved In The project Include
The project builds on recent work by the UK regulator, the CAA, who published a report earlier this year that recommended the use of transponder mandatory zones (TMZs) to enable BVLOS drone operations. Our consortium will be one of the first to implement this in a real operational environment, paving the way for others to learn from and help develop the standards, protocols, and procedures for implementation
The consortium will set up the UK’s first drone zone around Cranfield Airport, using transponders as a means to ensure drones and aircraft stay safely separated from one another. The consortium includes vertical integration of an airport/ANSP and it’s Air Traffic Control function with two uncrewed traffic management (UTM) providers, two avionics manufacturers and two drone operators in order to show how this open architecture can be implemented in a competitive and open marketplace
“The consortium expects a drone zone to be established around every major town and city in the UK by 2027”
This 2 year project will create an open-source blueprint for how to solve the BVLOS drone problem, and allow anyone to use it to create their own drone zone within their local area. The consortium expects a drone zone to be established around every major town and city in the UK by 2027, with corridors linking drone zones to create a network that can enable medical deliveries, infrastructure monitoring and last mile deliveries such as those by Amazon Prime Air, Google Wing, and Manna
This project aims to help regulators, technology providers and operators come to a consensus on the blueprint for a UK wide rollout of Beyond Visual Line of Sight drone operations. Interested parties will be invited to join a shared airspace group in order to register their interest, receive updates, access documentation libraries, engage in discussions and to make contributions. We look forward to welcoming interested parties to this collaborative forum in due course.