BT Group has taken a £5m stake in a drone software company Altitude Angel through its incubation branch Etc.
Berkshire-based Altitude Angel’s unified traffic management (UTM) software can spot drones in the sky and manage them around any crewed aviation.
Managing airborne drones will be an important aspect of the government’s proposed drone superhighway. Known as “Project Skyway”, the plan was announced by the government earlier this year as part of a £273m funding package for the UK’s aerospace sector.
Project Skyway will cover 165 miles across Reading, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Coventry, and Rugby. Altitude Angel’s UTM software will be used in the development of Project Skyway, with BT supplying connectivity for the highway.
“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,” said Richard Parker, CEO and founder of Altitude Angel.
“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,” added Parker.
Project Skyway will cover 165 miles across Reading, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Coventry, and Rugby.
Tom Guy, managing director, Etc, BT Group, said: “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’s director of drones Dave Pankhurst joins Altitude Angel’s board as part of the Series B investment. BT will also become a reseller of Altitude Angel’s software.
UK organizations have been increasing trials of drones, such as the NHS using drones to transport chemotherapy drugs from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight.