The Thames Valley is set to get the world’s first commercial ‘super-highway’ drone corridor in unrestricted airpsace, according to a statement from unmanned traffic management specialist Altitude Angel.
Necessary infrastructure deployment will begin within weeks on the allocated 8km long and 500m wide area, situated south of Reading.
The idea was put forward as part of the CAA’s Innovation Sandbox under the moniker ‘Project Arrow’ and will serve to extend enhanced detect-and-avoid capabilities to drones flying within the zone.
Drones flying within the ‘Arrow Drone Zone’ will be tracked and monitored via Altitude Angel’s UTM platform, GuardianUTM O/S, which communicates with ground and aerial infrastructure to provide automated navigation for drones flying within the zone, pre-flight authorisations and automatic separation assurance.
Nearby manned aviation and other non-participating drones are mapped in real-time so safe distances are maintained, and appropriate avoidance actions can be taken if they are predicted to be breached.
The zone will be open to any company which completes the technical integration.
Richard Parker, Altitude Angel CEO and founder, said: “Project Arrow and Arrow Drone Zones open the door to the next level in the evolution of UTM and automated drone operations. The size of this step cannot be underestimated: BVLOS automated flight in unrestricted airspace is a very significant barrier to overcome in order to realise the vision of mass-commercial drone usage.
“Drone technology has the potential to change the world in a myriad of ways, and Altitude Angel will be ready to support organisations and businesses around the globe to enable automated drone flights and manned aviation to operate safely side-by-side through the implementation of Arrow Drone Zones.”