Consortium partners and key stakeholders working to open up low-level airspace for drone operations across Cornwall were treated to a hands-on demo of a new, long-distance cargo drone platform during a special event at Spaceport Cornwall.
Open Skies Cornwall – a UKRI’s Future Flight Challenge, delivered by Innovate – is working to establish a permanent operational environment in Cornish airspace that could allow end users to benefit from opportunities to improve connectivity and services for remote communities through drone operations like the delivery of pathology samples.
The event was arranged to showcase the Pyka Pelican Cargo drone’s capabilities, – a fully electric, remote-operated drone that can fly up to 200 miles, carrying cargo up to 1.85m3 in volume and weighing up to 175kg.
Gareth Whatmore, CEO of DronePrep and project leader of Open Skies Cornwall, said: “Open Skies Cornwall’s year-long consultation with end users and Cornish communities has revealed a need to develop pioneering infrastructure and operations to help introduce large payload, electric drone capabilities to keep remote communities connected to essential services.
“The demo day was a fantastic opportunity for Open Skies Cornwall consortia members to gain first-hand experience of the largest electrically-powered, civilian cargo drone in the world, which we are delighted to be onboarding to the project via consortium member Skyports Drone Services. Consortia partners were able to develop their understanding of what it offers, how it operates and explore how it could potentially be deployed, before regular flights commence in 2024.”