Vodafone secures $41 million / £30m government funding to develop remotely-operated drones

SOURCE CityAM A consortium led by Vodafone has won £30m in government funding to develop remotely-operated drones that could be used to test nuclear sites across the UK.

The project, which will involve 16 different companies including BAE Systems, Skanska, Network Rail and The Met Office, will explore whether operators based in a central control room hundreds of miles away can fly autonomous drones safely.

In a statement, Vodafone said the aim of the scheme was to “develop a system that will enable remote inspection and monitoring of industrial sites, from nuclear power stations to oil and gas installations”.

The £30m funding round will come from the government’s Future Flight Challenge competition, delivered by UK Research and Innovation. 

The project will see Vodafone’s Radio Positioning Service integrated into a command and control system to develop satellite-based GPS location technology.

“For drones to deliver on their huge potential in business, we have to reduce the reliance on people — we have to enable safe and managed flights without the dependence on the traditional piloted approach,” said Anne Sheehan, business director at Vodafone UK.

“With our technology, we can play a crucial role in that and we’re looking forward to working with our partners to develop this vital capability.”

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