Skyports has selected Westcott Space Cluster’s south of England site as its European headquarters in partnership with the Satellite Applications Catapult to remotely operate its Beyond Visual Line Sight (BVLOS) drone flights.

Skyports will develop the location as its global command and control centre for delivery, survey and surveillance drone missions, employing the site’s multi-redundant internet networking capabilities to enable remote flight operations anywhere in the world, and will develop the site for pilots.

The Westcott site is distinguished as a leader in innovative technology development and services, expanding across multiple sectors, including space, healthcare, agriculture, engineering, manufacturing.

Skyports operates drone services for various industries, including ship-to-shore deliveries, BVLOS drone surveying and surveillance, and medical drone logistics. Its autonomous BVLOS capabilities significantly cut operational lead times and overheads, providing a cheaper, faster and more reliable service for hard-to-reach areas and critical services.

Westcott Area Manager at Satellite Applications Catapult Martin Smye-Rumsby said: “It is fitting that the Westcott Innovation Centre is where Skyports will continue to develop its pioneering operations by using space data and technology to improve life for us all.

“Skyports has previously worked on a fantastic healthcare initiative with the European Space Agency (ESA) and Argyll & Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) to significantly improve logistics when delivering medical services in the region.”

Skyports head of drone services Alex Brown added: “Our move to Westcott Space Cluster and work with Satellite Applications Catapult is testament to the fact that drone services have become a core solution for enhancing critical services with more sustainable, cost-effective alternatives.

“We look forward to moving our operational headquarters to an environment that will foster innovation and research and enable us to demonstrate and extend our capabilities.”

In February last year, Argyll and Bute HSCP began working with Skyports to use drones to transport COVID-19 test samples and other medical supplies between remote locations in the west of Scotland.

The project was funded by a joint initiative between the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and European Space Agency (ESA) to support the NHS with delivery drones that carry up to 3kg of critical medical supplies up to 40 miles.

In June 2020, Flock supported Skyports during a two-week trial to transport urgent medical cargo to remote communities in Scotland, backed by Argyll and Bute HSCP by insuring drones manufactured by Wingcopter with the goal to cut delivery times from six hours one-way via ferry, to just 15 minutes on-demand by drone.