Etc., the incubation team in BT Group’s Digital unit has partnered Altitude Angel in a £5 million deal to scale BVLOS drone flight in the UK – including the development of the UK’s drone superhighway.
Altitude Angel is an unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform, designed to help drones integrate into commercial airspace safely. “The £5 million deal will accelerate Altitude Angel’s roll-out of its transformative ARROW technology, which detects and identifies drones, while also enabling drones to share the airspace with crewed aviation safely and securely,” says a company press release.
A clear legal framework and infrastructure that allows safe drone flight beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and for long distances is critical to unlocking the full potential of the drone industry. Altitude Angel says that the deal, which will allow BT Group to provide connectivity, network infrastructure and scalability for Altitude Angel’s ARROW tower network, is also crucial to drone innovation: “…supporting commercial and retail use cases, but also enabling drones to transform how essential services function – from supporting the emergency services with real-time search and rescue, fast transportation of medical supplies, farming analysis, and architectural planning,” says the company.
BT Group will also be the key reseller of Altitude Angel’s software in addition to providing commercial support for drone deliveries in retail and automated, smart drone inspections of critical infrastructure.
The financial backing will allow Altitude Angel to accelerate its plans for the Skyway corridor beyond the planned 165-miles, to thousands of miles of Skyway infrastructure connecting towns and cities as well as transport and package delivery hubs, across the country, which in-turn will allow the UK to unlock the multi-£billion drone economy.
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 revolutionizing business operations in countless industries.”
Tom Guy, Managing Director, Etc. – BT Group said the partnership is a great fit for their business model. “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.”
BT Group will take a seat on Altitude Angel’s board, which will be held by Dave Pankhurst, BT Group’s Director of Drones, to drive the partnership forward and deliver against its goals.
“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,” says Guy.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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