Smart Transport

Urban logistics drone trial to launch in Liverpool


A new project to test the suitability of drones for urban logistics is being launched in Liverpool.

Drone Major Group’s ‘Test and Development Area’ project, delivered in partnership with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA), is expected to put the region on the path to become a global leader in the deployment of drone technology.

The project, Phoenix I, is the first in a series of interconnected projects developed by Drone Major Group, to deliver commercially viable, scalable and environmentally sustainable drone services across all environments (surface, underwater, air and space), and in all the sectors that are vital for the UK and world economy.

Robert Garbett, founder of Drone Major Group, said: “Drones represent an unprecedented growth opportunity across a huge number of global industries. Liverpool City Region has clearly demonstrated its commendable intent to adopt a sustainable and commercially viable drone technology system for the City, ahead of the curve, which sets an example to all.

“The potential for this unique collaborative initiative is vast. It enables cities, regions and industries to achieve their potential and will create an overwhelmingly positive impact on UK, and indeed world economic growth through enhanced commerce, employment, skills, education and decarbonisation.”

BT is leading a consortium that will test commercial drones south of Reading, Berkshire from summer 2021.

LCRCA has facilitated the active involvement of stakeholders, including Peel Ports Group, Logistics UK, SP Energy Networks, Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) Liverpool John Lennon Airport, the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University.

A roadmap has been created for the project which identifies key themes, outlining a pathway to develop operational drone capabilities to be delivered in the fields of urban logistics, the environment, security, maritime logistics, port and maritime, and the wider community.

All projects within the Phoenix programme, which currently comprises 10 new initiatives, will share a common operational model and advanced data analysis.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “The Liverpool City Region is a digital powerhouse. We have the world class infrastructure, expertise, and ambition to be leaders of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It’s fantastic to see the Drone Major Group recognising that by choosing to open their test and development area here.

“This project will deliver new jobs and investment and will attract people to our area not just to work but to study too, knowing that we are working on cutting edge and exciting projects such as this, as well as ambitious plans in everything from digital infrastructure and tidal power.”

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