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The CAA are Trialing a Drone Sky HighWay THIS YEAR

Last updated on

January 15, 2024

Read time

10 mins


    It’s like a scene straight from a blockbuster movie: drones taking flight to deliver life-saving medical supplies, or saving people stuck in natural disasters. This year, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has stepped onto the director’s chair, orchestrating a step towards innovation through Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operation trials. It feels even more real now after the anticipated release of DJI’s FlyCart30 delivery drone. But where does that leave us now? Let’s see what’s been happening.

    Sky HighWay Trials:

    The CAA is leading the way with 6 innovative sandbox trials in BVLOS drone flight, exploring applications from drone delivery to security. In this sandbox, cutting-edge systems are being tested to seamlessly integrate drones into shared airspace using temporary reserved areas (TRA).

    The objectives of these trials are to:

    1. Expand Boundaries:

    • Show how new technologies, airspace rules, and flight procedures can make BVLOS drones and crewed aircraft safely share the sky.
    • This expansion opens doors to groundbreaking innovations, enabling drones to reach remote or inaccessible locations with ease. This could enable operations from delivering medical supplies to natural disaster sites, to searching for missing people at sea.


    2. Enhance Safety & Reduce Skepticism:

    • Help participants move from keeping drones and crewed aircraft separate to making them work together in the same airspace.
    • Demonstrating the possibility to execute complex drone missions with surgical precision, reducing the skepticism around BVLOS flight.

    3. Pioneering Use Cases:

    • Allow the CAA to confirm that the new airspace policy works in real situations and helps drones and crewed aircraft coexist smoothly.
    • From rapid medical supply deliveries to autonomous security surveillance, the potential applications are limitless.

    The Risks of BVLOS Flight: Pushing Limits Safely

    Embarking on this exhilarating journey doesn’t come without its fair share of risks, but it’s about pushing the limits safely:

    1. Safety Concerns: Operating drones beyond our sight demands meticulous safety measures to ensure seamless coexistence with other airspace users.
    2. Privacy Issues: Privacy concerns arise, encouraging the creation of stringent regulations that respect personal boundaries.
    3. Technical Challenges: With challenges come opportunities, as we work to establish reliable communication and control over extended distances.

    The Benefits of BVLOS Flight: Imagine the Possibilities

    The excitement builds as we contemplate the astonishing benefits of BVLOS flight in public safety:

    Swift Response: BVLOS drones can reach emergency sites with unbeatable speed, potentially saving lives without restrictions.

    Medical Supplies Delivery: Life-saving medical equipment and supplies can be dispatched swiftly to remote or inaccessible areas, a game-changer in emergencies.

    ambulance droneAmbulance Drones: The future holds the promise of ambulance drones delivering critical care before traditional vehicles can arrive.ambulance drone Autonomous Security: BVLOS drones are the guardians of tomorrow, patrolling high-security sites to reduce human resource burden, and enhancing droneAbout the DJI Dock:

    At the heart of this transformation lies the DJI Dock, an innovation that’s setting the stage for a revolution. DJI, a global leader in drone technology, is leading the BVLOS revolution with this groundbreaking infrastructure. The DJI Dock is a robust, all-weather station featuring integrated hardware like a weather station, security camera, and RTK module. Designed for continuous operation, it houses a Matrice 30 drone for automated, scheduled missions, charging, and shelter, functioning reliably 24/7 in harsh conditions. With a backup battery lasting up to 5 hours and a 7-kilometer drone connectivity range, it’s ideal for uninterrupted use in any environment.

    DJI DockHow the DJI Dock is Being Used at Severn Trent Water

    Severn Trent Water is a leading provider of essential water services in the UK. They’ve implemented the DJI Dock to automate inspections, maintenance, and security, ensuring a fast, efficient, and safe approach to their workflow.

    The integration of drone automation with the docking station played a pivotal role in achieving their objectives, which included:

    • Automated Site Surveillance: With video and thermal imaging, the DJI Dock ensures round-the-clock site surveillance, seeing what the human eye can’t.
    • Immediate Response: Events trigger immediate drone flights, offering swift solutions without manual intervention.
    • 3D Models: Regular 3D models of sites keep project data fresh each day.

    Duncan Turner from Severn Trent Water perfectly captures the excitement: “We can also pre-programme the route and then schedule it to go out at certain times of the day. So, it will do a perimeter update first thing in the morning, and then at the end of each day, it will produce a new sitemap.” 

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    The excitement is contagious, and you can be a part of it! The CAA RPAS Integration Sandbox is an open door to innovation:

    Application Period: The application period unfolds in three tranches, offering flexibility:

      • Tranche 1: Closing date 23:59 on Thursday, February 1, 2024
      • Tranche 2: Closing date 23:59 on Thursday, February 29, 2024
      • Tranche 3: Closing Date 23:59 on Thursday, April 4, 2024

    The future of public safety through BVLOS drone operations and the CAA RPAS Integration Sandbox holds promising results, and it will be an exciting year for certain. This technology represents a significant step towards a safer, more efficient future.

    In the words of Buzz Aldrin, “No dream is too high for those with their eyes in the sky”.

    Want to read more about this? We have a guide offering crucial insights into the practical uses and benefits of autonomous drones.

    DJI Dock: Public Safety Use Cases & Benefits

    See what’s happening in the world of drone automation.



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