UK set for world’s largest and longest drone superhighway

The world’s largest and longest drone superhighway is set to be established in the skies above Britain following a £5m deal between Etc. and Altitude Angel.


With its international headquarters in Reading, Altitude Angel has developed UTM (Unified Traffic Management) technology that provides the software and infrastructure required for drones to fly safely, without a pilot, over large distances.

The £5m deal with Etc. - the incubation team in BT Group’s Digital unit - will accelerate Altitude Angel’s roll-out of its ARROW technology, which detects and identifies drones, while also enabling drones to share the airspace with crewed aviation.

The deal gives Altitude Angel the opportunity to scale its technology to allow long distance drone flights, supporting the potential for faster delivery of essential and non-essential items and unlocking an industry estimated by PwC to be worth £45bn by 2030. The deal also supports the use of drones in assisting emergency services with real-time search and rescue, fast transportation of medical supplies, farming analysis, and architectural planning.

In a statement, Richard Parker, CEO and founder of Altitude Angel said: “With BT Group, Altitude Angel has a partner which shares its ambition to make automated commercial drone operations at scale in the UK a day-to-day reality. Combining our ARROW technology…with BT Group’s significant communications infrastructure, we can quickly bring ARROW to the masses. This will provide the UK with the first nationwide drone superhighways, unlocking the potential of this new and innovative technology.”


BT Group and Altitude Angel previously led Project Xcelerate, the success of which has led to Project Skyway, the largest and longest network of drone superhighways in the world, which is backed by the UK government’s Future Flight programme.

ARROW is the foundation technology on which Project Skyway is being built, creating a 165-mile drone corridor spanning airspace above Reading, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Coventry, and Rugby.

The financial backing will allow Altitude Angel to accelerate its plans for the Skyway corridor beyond the planned 165-miles, to thousands of miles of Skyway infrastructure connecting towns and cities as well as transport and package delivery hubs, across the country.

As well as taking a seat on Altitude Angel’s board, BT Group will also provide its connectivity, network infrastructure and scalability experience to deploy and maintain Altitude Angel’s ARROW tower network. BT Group will also be the key reseller of Altitude Angel’s software in addition to providing commercial support for drone deliveries in retail and automated, smart drone inspections of critical infrastructure.