BT Group backs world's largest 'drone superhighway' above Milton Keynes

    BT Group’s incubation hub Etc. is backing Altitude Angel to make the UK a global leader for commercial automated drone operations with a superhighway over Milton Keynes.

    BT Group’s startup incubation hub, Etc., has secured a £5 million deal with Altitude Angel to launch state-of-the-art software that will allow drones to fly long distances safely and without a pilot, making the world's biggest 'drone superhighway'.

    The drone highway would span 165-miles above Reading, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Coventry, and Rugby.

    The £5 million deal between BT Group and UTM (United Traffic Management) technology provider will support the development of the drone superhighway, accelerating Altitude Angel's roll-out of ARROW technology. The technology will be used to detect and identify drones, allowing them to share airspace with crewed aviation in a safe and secure way. 

    Altitude Angel's drone superhighway plan includes the delivery of essential and non-essential items, in an industry is estimated to be worth £45billion by 2030.

    Essential services will also benefit from the drone highway, planners say. Real-time search and rescue, fast transportation of medical supplies, farming analysis and architectural planning are among the plans for the drones.

    The project is currently backed by the UK government's Future Flight programme.

    Richard Parker, CEO and founder, Altitude Angel comments, “With BT Group, Altitude Angel has a partner which shares its ambition to make automated commercial drone operations at scale in the UK a day-to-day reality.

    "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.”

    Tom Guy, Managing Director, Etc. - BT Group said, “At Etc., we support businesses like Altitude Angel, who have game changing ideas that benefit from BT Group’s scale and our agile approach to growth. This partnership is a natural extension to BT Group’s work building the leading network in the UK, supporting the UTM industry that sits adjacent to our core business.”

    Guy concludes: “This deal also brings with it a stake in Altitude Angel, arguably the UK’s leading voice in the development of the drone and air-mobility airspace industry. Together we bring unparalleled drone solutions to market, underpinned by digital innovation and our network strength, as we open the skies to solve genuine consumer and business needs.”

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