Slated to open this summer, Project XCelerate in Reading, Berkshire, 40 miles south of London, will create an aerial traffic lane for the exclusive use of commercial drones, reports Commercial UAV News. The flyway will stretch for eight km (4.8 miles) and function as a transportation corridor. Project Xcelerate is supported by the U.K. Government’s Industrial Strategy, and aims to prove that careful management of drone flights can allow them to safely share the skies with traditional aviation ventures.
“Automated drone technology has the capacity to transform how we live our lives and bring about significant efficiencies,” stated Thomas Neubauer, VP of Innovations at TEOCO. “Operators have a huge opportunity in front of them to support the future of drones and already have the supporting infrastructure required in place. However, their cellular networks alone won’t be enough to make the drone dream happen, they will need the right tools to meet drone connectivity requirements to ensure drone operators can deliver on the much-anticipated applications set to take to the skies in the coming years.”
For the drones to successfully operate, a consistent, reliable signal is essential. Maintaining BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) flight is an additional challenge faced by drone operators. Uninterrupted bandwidth and low latency conditions following the entire flightpath should enable the drones to travel from point to point with no fear of lost or poor wireless connections.
The expertise of many different agencies was required to get Project XCelerate off the ground, starting with telecom giant BT, the project’s anchor. U.K. Research and Innovation worked with Altitude Angel, Angoka, Dronecloud, DroneStream, HEROTECH8, SkyBound Rescuer, and Skyports. Airbourne RF, a TEOCO connectivity platform, was also brought on board by BT. Project XCelerate’s devoted UAV aerial space will serve as a blueprint for other communities looking to speed the delivery of goods and medical supplies along their own drone highways.