The University of Southampton has outlined how it snapped up a place as one of five regions chosen to develop drone technology within UK cities.
Southampton, alongside London, Preston, Bradford and the West Midlands, was selected by Nesta to take part in the Flying High Challenge for the next five months.
The project is designed to explore public attitudes, environmental impact, logistics and safety of drones operating in complex urban environments.
With approximately 20 applications lodged, Southampton was keen to stand out from the crowd. While the bid was spearheaded by the City Council and the University of Southampton, it has been reported that roughly 17 local companies and bodies were involved in Southampton’s Nesta pitch.
Roger Gardner, the University of Southampton’s aerospace sector advisor, told Commercial Drone Professional that he believes that city was able to secure a position in the programme due to, in part, its geographical location as a coastal city.
He said: “I thought it would be a suitable city because it had such a diverse selection of potential uses for drones. While Southampton is suitable, obviously it’s extremely characteristic of being a port city so that adds a bunch of different dimensions, which are things that other cities probably wouldn’t have.
“We also have advantages in some of the typical areas of activity. First the highways, the highways contractor is already drones in some of its activities but the cities council is interested to take that further.”