Telecom firm BT leads project testing the UK’s first drone corridor

British telecom operator BT is leading a consortium of businesses prepared to test the UK’s first commercial drone corridor. Dubbed Project XCelerate, the initiative is receiving government backing as part as the country’s push to boost drone-based business delivery, transport, and other services.

Trial run tests BVLOS and automated drone missions

The 8-kilometer-long (5-mile) corridor will begin trial operations this summer near Reading, to the west of London. Its objectives will not be limited to demonstrating drone abilities to safely carry out commercial missions in a bustling airspace. They’ll also seek to surmount challenges inherent to beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights, as well as those posed by fully automated drone use that many businesses will require.

BT’s role as an organizer of Project XCelerate reflects the centrality of its telecom network in the plan. One of the major obstacles to BVLOS flight is consistent, reliable access to…