A UK government-backed drone innovation project has today released its early findings from the Flying High programme, outlining the opportunities and challenges of implementing drone technology in UK cities.
Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, in partnership with Innovate UK, has released the report.
Flying High comprises a collaborative engagement with five UK city-regions chosen earlier this year (Bradford, London, Preston, Southampton and the West Midlands), along with the NHS, police and fire services, national stakeholders from central government, technology experts, industry leaders, academics, and regulators. Five socially beneficial use cases were analysed to investigate their technical, social and economic implications:
- Medical delivery within London – a drone delivery network for carrying urgent medical products between NHS facilities, which would routinely carry products such as pathology samples, blood products, and equipment over relatively short distances between hospitals in a network.
- Traffic incident response in the West Midlands – responding to traffic incidents in the West Midlands to support the emergency services prior to their arrival and while they are on-site, allowing them to allocate the right resources and respond more effectively.
- Fire response in Bradford – emergency response drones for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service. Drones would provide high-quality information to support emergency call handlers and fire ground commanders, arriving on the scene faster than is currently possible, and helping staff plan an appropriate response to the incident.
- Construction and regeneration in Preston – drone services supporting construction work for urban projects. This would involve routine use of drones prior to and during construction, in order to survey sites and gather real-time information on the progress of works
- Medical delivery across the Solent – linking Southampton across the Solent to the Isle of Wight using a delivery drone. Drones could carry light payloads of up to a few kilos over distances of around 20 miles, with medical deliveries of products being a key benefit.