Oxfordshire County Council has launched a trial in partnership with Altitude Angel which is intended to provide local authorities with a blue-print to support development of a local drone economy. The AirTek project is backed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and has received funding from the GPB3.7 million grant from the BEISS Regulators’ Pioneer Fund. The fund enables UK regulators and local authorities to help create a UK regulatory environment that unleashes innovation and makes the UK the best place to start and grow a business.
AirTek will establish a framework to understand the requirements councils need to have in place to progress UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) services and trials. In doing so, it will reduce discretion and monitoring costs, which are often barriers to opening new services and operations. Oxfordshire County Council iHub team will make use of their extensive knowledge on developing the requirements for CAV trials and services for local authorities to the UAV environment.
There are established business cases for using UAVs as freight carriers, including medical samples, alleviating pressure on ground transportation and AirTek will enable and accelerate this technology’s economic and environmental benefits.
Karim Cosslett, Altitude Angel, Sales & Partnership Manager, said: “Due to the emergence of multiple innovative technologies, primarily the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) sector, there is a need for local authorities to engage with the new developments to remain competitive and enable industry growth while not compromising safety.
“AirTek will provide the blue-print for local authorities, or any other business or organisation, wishing to enable drone operations, to begin building the framework needed, from legal compliance to ground-based infrastructure requirements, without having to replicate the same work done by others. By reducing time and costs, councils can begin to deploy new innovative technologies rapidly for the public good.”
Cllr Enright, Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy, said “Oxfordshire County Council is at the heart of innovation in the county and the UK. A lack of regulation or policy around emerging technologies can often lead to poor implementation, reduce benefits for communities, and adversely impact the ability to scale up. By actively supporting the emerging regulatory environment, as we have also done with Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, we want to help the UK take a lead to ensure new technologies, such as drones, realise their full potential and help us all in our daily lives.
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