BT Group to take stake in drone superhighway pioneer linking key UK logistics hubs

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BT Group Plc plans to take a stake in drone startup Altitude Angel Ltd. as part of an agreement to invest in the developer of a proposed aerial superhighway linking key UK logistics hubs.

BT will provide Altitude Angel with £5 million of financing in return for a stake in the business as part of a series B fundraising, with the telephony giant taking a seat on the smaller firm’s advisory board, the companies said on Wednesday.

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The investment will accelerate the roll-out of Altitude Angel’s Arrow technology, which aims to detect and identify drones using cameras and sensors mounted on BT phone masts, allowing the craft to operate over large distances while avoiding collisions between themselves or with crewed planes.

The proposed Skyway drone corridor currently under development would be the world’s biggest, spanning 165 miles between logistics interchanges in southern and central England, with planned extensions to Southampton and Ipswich, providing onward transport for items arriving at nearby container ports.

Drones would carry cargo and retail consignments, transport medical supplies and undertake missions in areas including search and rescue, agricultural analysis, and architectural planning.

Under the deal, BT will also be the main reseller of Altitude Angel software and its director of drones, Dave Pankhurst, will join the startup’s board.

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