DronePrep to represent the UK at World of Drones & Robotics Congress 2021

DronePrep is delighted to be representing the UK at the World of Drones & Robotics Congress 2021 for the second year running, with Co-Founder & CTO Claire Owen also asked to speak at the event on 18-19 August.

This year’s congress will be held both online and in person at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition center, Australia. DronePrep was approached by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and asked to represent the UK at their virtual pavilion.

The World of Drones Congress and Robotics Congress is the largest drone Congress in the Asia-Pacific region, connecting stakeholders with the latest industry developments, applications and policies. Bringing together the experts in drones, robotics and autonomous systems, the congress provides a great opportunity to connect, collaborate and co-create.

Following successful trials in Cornwall and Scotland, Claire will be discussing DronePrep’s consortia work with Royal Mail, showcasing drone delivery for medical purposes and discussing the hurdles to overcome.

Interested in attending? Use discount code D25PC for 25% off tickets when registering. For more information, check out: https://www.worldofdrones.com.au/
Planning to be there? Get in touch, come see us on the virtual stand.

DronePrep’s Claire Owen Nominated for Women in Tech Awards 2021

We are excited to announce that DronePrep’s Claire Owen has been selected as a finalist for the Midlands Women in Tech Awards 2021.

Claire has been nominated for the Innovator Award, which is “…awarded to a woman designing, developing, researching, implementing or being exceptionally creative with technology in an unconventional and innovative way.” 

Every vote counts in the race to first place – please head over to the website and vote for Claire:

https://www.womenintechawards.co.uk

DronePrep attends G7 Technology Showcase

Last week we had the unique opportunity to take part in the G7 Summit Technology Showcase. The event was a chance to demonstrate the best of innovation, technology and talent from Cornwall and across the UK.

As part of the G7 Summit which took place last week in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, DronePrep were invited to the G7 Technology Showcase, a 4-day event highlighting the latest tech developments emerging in the region.

The event offered a chance for Cornwall-made innovation projects to shine. Exhibitors included organisations from a wide variety of industries: from lithium mining, to agriculture, to space exploration.

DronePrep joined fellow drone industry pioneers Skyports and Flylogix in showcasing drone technology.

DronePrep’s Co-founder and CTO Claire Owen had the chance to talk about our UKRI-funded projects with Royal Mail and the NHS to carry out drone deliveries in the Isles of Scilly, and to discuss the future of autonomous deliveries. There was also the opportunity to demonstrate the DronePrep platform to operators and industry representatives.

It was a fantastic opportunity to find out what’s going on both within and outside our field. We’re really on the cusp of this massive revolution in technology, and it was great to see first-hand how these businesses are putting Cornwall, and Great Britain, on the map.

– Claire Owen

Special thanks to Gail Eastaugh, James Fairbairn, and Sam Healy of The Cornwall Development Company for hosting.

DronePrep welcomes Beth Mason

We are thrilled to welcome Beth to the DronePrep team as our new Marketing Manager.

Beth has joined us, initially remotely, from Beijing where she has been working as a copyeditor for a major news publication. Beth speaks multiple languages, including Mandarin and French, and she brings invaluable expertise from her time as a project manager in the aerospace industry.

Having rebuilt and launched the new DronePrep platform this year, Beth will be showcasing the benefits of the software to our growing community of drone pilots and landowners, as well as managing the marketing and PR campaigns around our innovation projects, including the upcoming stakeholder engagement initiative with the residents of Mull.

Beth will be moving back to the UK in the summer – and we can’t wait to welcome her into the office at Malvern Hill Science Park – but even with the current time difference, Beth has hit the ground running. Make sure to register and receive news and product updates!

“We couldn’t be more delighted to welcome Beth to the team who brings with her a huge range of experience and skills to lead on our marketing strategies. We have a new, powerful software platform that has been built on world-class infrastructure, and we are involved in a number of highly innovative and pioneering projects – we now have an incredible team member to help us spread the word.”

– Claire Owen

“I am really excited to be joining the DronePrep team, it’s fantastic to be working for a growing company with passion and ambition at its core. I can see a great product and philosophy for drone users, and I’m really looking forward to sharing that and helping us to grow.”

– Beth Mason

DronePrep & Royal Mail; Autonomous Drone Delivery to the Isles of Scilly

ROYAL MAIL DELIVERS TWO UK FIRSTS WITH AUTONOMOUS DRONE PARCEL DELIVERIES TO THE SCILLY ISLES ALONGSIDE INTER-ISLAND DRONE DELIVERIES OF TEST KITS

“A test flight from the Cornish mainland to St. Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly is pictured, as part of the trial of a series of autonomous, scheduled flights established by Royal Mail, in partnership with DronePrep, Skyports, University of Southampton, Excalibur Healthcare Services, Consortiq Limited and Windracers Limited, a consortium funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The initiative is being launched to better connect the islands’ remote communities. The project, which initially runs for a month, will see two Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles used to deliver mail to and around the islands, with a particular focus on delivering critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and COVID testing kits.”

Royal Mail and partners have delivered two more UK firsts. As part of a specialist consortium, Royal Mail becomes the first UK parcel carrier to deliver mail to a UK island in a 70 mile out-of-sight, autonomous flight to the Scilly Isles. Royal Mail has also trialled the first inter-island drone flights with a smaller vertical take-off and landing drone.

  • Royal Mail has also become the first UK parcel carrier to use a drone to deliver parcels – including essential PPE items – to remote communities on the islands.
  • The Company is trialling scheduled, autonomous flights for one month between the Cornish mainland and the Isles of Scilly to help better connect remote island communities.
  • The project has been developed via a consortium led by DronePrep, Skyports, Consortiq Limited, Excalibur Healthcare Services, University of Southampton and Windracers Limited. It has been funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
  • The scheduled, autonomous flights will use two different Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to deliver mail.
  • A large, twin-engine, UK-built UAV – from Windracers Limited – will carry mail from the mainland to the islands, and is able to fly in poor weather conditions, including fog, potentially enabling Royal Mail to better serve remote island communities. A smaller Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTO) drone (operated by Skyports) will then fly parcels between the islands for delivery to recipients.
  • During the trial, there will be a particular focus on delivering critical PPE and COVID testing kits, from the mainland to communities on the Isles of Scilly. However, other parcels will also be carried, including orders from various retailers.
  • The larger UAV can carry roughly 100kg worth of mail of all shapes and sizes – equivalent to a typical delivery round.
  • If successful, Royal Mail will consider expanding the technology across its network, potentially providing opportunities to better support postmen and postwomen in delivering to remote areas and addresses in the UK.
  • After Royal Mail became the first nationwide UK parcel carrier to deliver a parcel for recipients via a piloted drone to the Isle of Mull in Scotland,[1] the Company, in collaboration with DronePrep, will be undertaking a consultation with residents and landowners on the use of drones to deliver to rural communities on the island in coming months.

This week, Royal Mail announces a trial of the first out-of-sight, autonomous scheduled drone flights between the UK mainland and an island. The trial will see the Company use Uncrewed Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flights to deliver Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), COVID testing kits and other mail to the Isles of Scilly.

Royal Mail has also become the first to execute inter-island parcel deliveries across the Scillies, as part of the trial.

The Government-funded project[2], which has been developed in partnership with DronePrep, Skyports, Consortiq Limited, University of Southampton, Excalibur Healthcare Services and Windracers Limited, will initially have a particular focus on helping to fight the pandemic by delivering crucial PPE and testing kits to the islands’ most vulnerable and remote communities.

The Windracers drone is also able to accommodate mail of most shapes and sizes, enabling more general mail to be transported to the islands as part of the trial.

The project unites two pioneering companies that have previously acted in response to the UK COVID-19 challenge – Windracers and the drone delivery arm of air mobility company Skyports – for the first time. It will showcase how UAVs of different sizes could be used to complement each other in future.

Parcels will be flown to the islands’ airport in St. Mary’s, by a UK-built twin-engine Windracers UAV, which can carry up to 100kg worth of mail at a time – equivalent to a typical delivery round. A smaller VTO drone, operated by Skyports, will then be used to transport items to a number of delivery points throughout the islands.

The autonomous flight route that the UAV takes involves being roughly 70 miles out of sight before it reaches its destination.

The UAVs will complement existing forms of transport for mail to the Isles of Scilly. They are able to fly in poor weather conditions – including fog – as they are uncrewed and not dependent on tides. This could potentially make them well suited to help Royal Mail better service remote island communities.

If the trial is successful, the technology will be considered by Royal Mail to help identify opportunities to support postmen and postwomen in delivering to very remote areas and addresses across the UK.

In December, Royal Mail became the first nationwide UK parcel carrier to deliver a parcel for recipients via drone to a remote lighthouse on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. In coming months, a consultation will be undertaken with residents on the use of drones to deliver to rural communities on the island.

Environmental Benefits

The trial will also examine fuel efficiencies that the drones could provide, as part of the Company’s continued drive to reduce emissions associated with its operations.

With the UK’s largest “Feet on the Street” network of over 90,000 postmen and women, Royal Mail already has the lowest reported CO2e emissions per parcel amongst major UK delivery companies[3].

The trial and potential introduction of low emission vehicles, such as UAVs, help the Company inform its long-term environmental strategy, and to meet its goals of delivering a cleaner future.

Amy Richards, local postwoman for the Isles of Scilly, said: “It’s great to be involved in this initiative. There are some really remote areas on these islands, and this is a terrific way to help us reach them. It’s really important for us to do all we can to help all areas of the country stay connected – especially in these difficult times.”

Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail, said: “Two more major UK firsts is hugely significant for us, and we are incredibly proud to find ways to support the more remote and isolated communities we serve. This is part of our constant drive to incorporate the best and most innovative technologies into our network. We’ve seen a huge increase in parcel volumes since the start of the pandemic, and this is just one of the ways we are looking to support our postmen and postwomen in delivering fast and convenient services for all of our customers while reducing our carbon emissions.”

Gareth Whatmore, CEO at DronePrep, said “This project has given us the opportunity to understand how multiple drone delivery platforms can be utilised to overcome and solve real world logistical challenges. With the introduction of drones to complement existing supply chains we have huge opportunity to improve the island connection. It has been a privilege to lead on this project and bring together leading UK drone companies and real end users like Royal Mail and Excalibur Healthcare Services to all learn together how we can use drones to improve the robustness of delivery to remote communities.”

Charles Scales, Chief Executive Officer at Windracers, said: “It’s been a privilege and an honour to serve the Isles of Scilly and Royal Mail’s customers and employees with our autonomous, 100kg over 1,000-kilometre, ULTRA UAV. The ULTRA platform was designed to supply and serve people in remote locations, whether to children in need of medical or food aid in a country as large as South Sudan, or to serve island communities within our home shores. This project has proven the efficiency and robustness of ULTRA, with each round trip being 211km and being completed in less than two hours. With our unique CAA permissions, this will be the first time a large, economic, load carrying UAV is used between the Isles of Scilly and mainland Cornwall in a month-long trial. I want to thank our team and our project partners, the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, Cornwall Development Company, Civil Aviation Authority, DronePrep, Consortiq and University of Southampton.”

Gary Cutts, Future Flight Challenge Director at UKRI, said: “This ground-breaking initiative is a great example of collaboration between innovative businesses and those delivering key public services. The Government funding provided by the Future Flight programme has delivered solutions to challenges coming from the COVID-19 pandemic and has potential for future applications. It illustrates the real-life benefits to remote communities across the UK that can come from investment in drone technologies.”

Duncan Walker, CEO at Skyports, said: “Drone technology has already proven its value as part of a network, bringing essential items such as mail or medical equipment to remote regions. Working with world-class partners such as Royal Mail, our team at Skyports has conducted a number of successful delivery programmes across the UK and beyond. It’s very gratifying to be part of this new project, using cutting edge technology to connect communities and make a real difference to peoples’ day to day lives.”

Gareth Beverley, Managing Director at Consortiq, said: “It’s been fantastic to see a real-life use case for drone delivery technology come to life. The benefits to the local community are immense, and the implications for a more environmentally friendly future are very positive. I hope this sets the stage for widespread adoption of drone deliveries in the UK.”

Minister for Business Paul Scully said: “The UK is at the forefront of the aviation revolution, developing newer and more fuel-efficient technologies. Royal Mail’s ‘air bridge’ to the Isles of Scilly will not only connect isolated and rural communities, but showcases the real-world potential drones have to truly transform our lives. Backed by government funding, it is initiatives like these which will help us beat COVID-19 and build back better from the pandemic.”

Professor Sir Chris Evans, CEO at Excalibur Healthcare Services, said: ‘We are incredibly excited to be part of this initiative, which is a prime example of the excellence of British innovation. Through this collaborative effort, we not only have brought vital PPE and testing kits to people who need them but also lay the groundwork for the use of technology and drones to create positive impacts in the future.

James Scanlan, Professor of Aerospace Design from the University of Southampton said: “We are delighted to be supporting this pioneering and important demonstration of real drone operations in routine and regular usage. We are very proud to be working with Royal Mail on this project.”

DronePrep Innovation Lead Emily Bratt shortlisted for an Airward

AirWards is the first global digital awards scheme of its kind to recognise positive drone use cases which are innovative, safe and have real world implications.

Airwards champions UAV companies that are pushing boundaries, creating innovative solutions and transforming industries.

In their inaugural year, AirWards has a number of categories created to showcase best practices and new perspectives on the drone industry, one of which is the People’s Choice Awards with sub-category: Person – Rising Star

This category recognises that it is not about young versus old. This is about celebrating and recognising the achievements of those at the beginning of their career or new to the sector.

At the heart of every innovation project DronePrep has been involved in this year including Royal Mail’s first parcel delivery by drone, the IoS Medical Airbridge and DronePort Montrose has been an incredibly bright and brilliant ‘rising star’; Emily Bratt.

Emily’s passion, drive and ability to take on pretty much anything that is thrown at her has resulted in some truly incredible achievements in such a short space of time. We believe that if anyone is deserving of the ‘Rising Star’ title, it’s Emily – and being shortlisted is a wonderful accreditation to her work.

An example of the work Emily is involved in at DronePrep: https://droneprep.uk/content/drone-deliveries-on-the-isle-of-mull

Huge congratulations to everyone who’s made the shortlist this year – we truly are working in a remarkable industry.