Editor’s Note: Updated February 12, 2018. Nesta has announced that Bradford, London, Preston, Southampton and the West Midlands have been selected to test drones in city environments.
The cities could test delivery of medical supplies, monitor traffic or support public safety services. The effort comes along with a national Drone Bill under the Department for Transport that will give UK law enforcement agencies the ability to order drone operators to ground their craft, and impose potential height restrictions for hobby flight.
Tris Dyson, of Nesta, the innovation foundation reviewing the applicants and running the challenge, said: “If we are going to have drones in our towns and cities they must be fit for our society,” adding that cities need to commit to finding approaches that work at the local level, without risk to public safety.
According to the Nesta website, Flying High Cities will develop drone visions and strategies specific to their communities, and get technical support from a full-time Nesta team as well as government officials. The project involves community engagement on use of drones.
Dyson noted in a Nesta blog post that cities will be in the driver’s seat on this. They will sit down with drone companies to solve challenges and offer opportunities to test drones in urban environments.