The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has announced a partnership with unmanned aircraft company Flylogix to trial an enhanced freight delivery service based at Land’s End Airport operating to and from the Isles of Scilly.
The two-year collaboration will explore the feasibility of a regular unmanned logistics service for the Isles of Scilly community, initially using Flylogix’s own remotely piloted fixed wing aircraft. The first test flight is expected before the end of the year, subject to regulatory approval.
In consultation with the Scilly community, the parties aim to design a new larger unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that could meet islanders’ needs. Partners and investment will be sought to support its development.
Ian Howard, chair of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said: “This is an exciting partnership that opens up the next chapter in our 100 years of serving the islands’ community.
“For us this is about using innovation to provide additional services to the community. We want to explore whether a UAV freight service is technically and commercially feasible using a new generation of environmentally friendly unmanned aircraft. This service could be for urgent freight like medication, but also for anyone looking for a rapid delivery service of higher value items.”
Hampshire-based Flylogix operates a fleet of unmanned aircraft providing long-range full service ‘over horizon’ operations, to the offshore energy industry. The Flylogix team have backgrounds ranging from Formula 1 and global communications to offshore engineering and search and rescue.
The company is one of just ten chosen to work with the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Innovation Team alongside the likes of Amazon and Boeing to help keep the UK’s aviation sector at the forefront of technology development.
Charles Tavner, executive chairman at Flylogix, said: “We’re very excited about this joint venture with the Steamship Group and its potential to bring enhanced freight services to the island community. We’re bringing together artificial intelligence and satellite communication to develop a new generation of unmanned aircraft and this partnership aims to be at the forefront of that work.”
The collaboration between the Steamship Company and Flylogix has been welcomed on the Isles of Scilly.
Cllr Robert Francis, chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly, said: “The Council of the Isles of Scilly is always keen to support its operators in maintaining and developing resilient, cutting edge solutions to the islands’ transport needs. We welcome this innovative project in trialling future-focused, sustainable movement of freight to the Islands.”
Flylogix and the Steamship Company are in the process of applying for regulatory consent to the CAA to operate a test flight from Land’s End Airport to the Isles of Scilly before the end of the year.
The Steamship Company provides lifeline passenger and freight services between the mainland and the Isles of Scilly by sea and by air and has around 250 staff. The company was formed by islanders in 1920 and celebrates its centenary this year.