Drone Developers Must Focus More on Social Good, Says UK Report

The UK government is backing a drone project that aims to explore how unmanned aerial vehicles could benefit various cities. The project is already underway in its first phase. Five UK city regions have been chosen to be the drone test centers. They include London, Southampton, Bradford, Preston, and the West Midlands.

Nesta, the innovation driven charity behind the project is aiming to steer the UK into becoming a global leader in shaping innovative drone systems that place the people’s needs first. The report outlines various challenges that face the implementation of drone technology and proposes some policy recommendations.

The report also says that people are excited about the benefits of drones for potential commercial uses such as food delivery, flying taxis, and more. The project explored the following five use cases. The first being medical delivery in London. A network of delivery drones that carry urgent medical supplies between NHS facilities. The network would be routinely used to carry medical products such as pathology samples, equipment, blood products, and other urgent products over short distances between hospitals in the network.

Next would be for traffic incident response in the West Midlands. Drones will be used to respond to any traffic incidents, to support the emergency services before they arrive and while on site, allowing them to respond more effectively and allocate resources efficiently. By using the drones, emergency responders will know the best route to reach the victims in the least amount of time.

Thirdly, as fire response in Bradford. Drones will assist with emergency response for West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service. Drones provide high quality footage and other information to firefighters. They also can arrive faster on scene as well as help guide firefighters through the rescue of trapped victims and ultimately putting out the fire.

Then there is the program for regeneration and construction in Preston. This involves the use of drone services to support construction for urban projects. Drones are routinely used prior and during construction to survey sites and gather information in real time on the progress of the project.

And lastly for medical delivery across the Solent. Drones will be used to carry a few kilos of medical supplies over distances of about 20 kilometers. The charity is calling on the public to get involved in discussions on the future of drones since they all stand to benefit. Nesta is also calling on the government to come up with better policies to encourage drone research and innovation.

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