A £2.4million project to create “sky highways” for drone delivery services such as medical supplies and parcels over Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will reach an important milestone over the coming weeks with the first “Ship to Shore” test flight over Falmouth Harbour.
The Open Skies Cornwall project aims utilise emerging drone technology for a number of ground-breaking uses including connecting remote communities, ship to shore delivery and emergency response, initially four low level flight corridors where drones can fly freely and with a specific purpose.
“Demonstrating the possibility of drone deliveries to and from vessels is an incredibly exciting proposition for Falmouth Harbour as both the test ground and partner to the Open Skies Cornwall project. Whether medical supplies or deliveries, one can imagine the utility of commercial Ship to Shore drone capabilities, and test flights such as this will help demonstrate what can be achieved” says Miles Carden, CEO of Falmouth Harbour.
“Open Skies Cornwall is an incredibly interesting and important project which has fired the public imagination as it’s a chance to use cutting edge technologies to give some real benefit to rural and remote communities.”
As one of ten partners in the Open Skies Cornwall project Falmouth Harbour (FH) has become the UK’s first ‘drone friendly’ harbour.
Other key project partners include Skyports Drone Services, Royal Mail, the NHS and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency – all organisations invested in seeing this new mode of transport as part of a permanent offering of services in the future.
Throughout the test stages of the scheme Open Skies Cornwall wants to hear from the general public and associated industries about how they would like to see drones used and also from landowners happy to have drones fly across their land.
Earlier this year as part of the launch of the project a “Shore to Shore” test flight was carried out in Falmouth’s newly designed ‘Falmouth Harbour Maritime Drone Testbed Airspace Environment’ from the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.
Open Skies Cornwall was a winner in the UK Research and Innovation Future Flight Challenge competition. £2.4 million of research and development funding has been given to the project to help it test and consult on different ‘sky highway’ routes, before they are fully adopted at some point in the next two years.
Falmouth Harbour will be posting and updating information on Open Skies Cornwall