Milton Keynes – a city about 50 miles (~80 km) north-west of London, England – has received £1m in government funding to develop and deploy drones that could speed the delivery of medicines, ease road congestion, and reduce carbon emissions globally.
The city’s council will work with Cranfield University’s Drone Innovation Hub and Satellite Applications Catapult Westcott DronePort on the project. They will test and trial new drone-based services that would work with current delivery services and autonomous vehicles. The tests will include: smart traffic monitoring; secure package deliveries; remote building inspections; and the transfer of vital medical supplies as part of an emergency response. Ground and air-based emergency services will be integrated through real-time information sharing using drone technologies to increase response times and make them more efficient.
“We’re proud to be hosting yet another trial to test future technologies in MK which will build on our reputation as a world leading smart city,” said Pete Marland, leader of MK Council. “The technologies have the potential to bring practical benefits to help people in everyday life and in time critical emergencies. If the trials are successful it will also help us meet our climate action ambitions and create new jobs of the future for local people.”
The city council has also announced that four South Korean companies who specialize in future sustainable transport have chosen Milton Keynes to test their products.
“This report further emphasizes that we’re a world-leading smart city and a place that empowers businesses that will provide jobs of the future for local people,” said Marland. “We’re ready to take on the challenge and support businesses looking to make a real difference for our communities and grow the local economy. We’ve got really big ambitions for our city which is backed up by this report, but we can’t be complacent. We’re determined to make MK an even more attractive place to do business, so we can secure good and well-paid jobs for local people while growing our economy in a fair, green and sustainable way.”