The UK’s telecommunications powerhouse, BT, is in the headlines, having launched the first-ever Drone SIM in the country, aimed at enhancing the functionality of beyond visual line of sight (BVLoS) drone operations coast-to-coast. The SIM leverages the EE network to ensure seamless connectivity and unlimited data plans for drones at great altitudes.
Built with a formidable resistance to extreme conditions such as vibration, temperature, and humidity, Drone SIM equips drones for all-season operations. Starting the roll-out with its business customers, BT intends to revolutionize different sectors, making viable the rapid delivery of healthcare supplies, comprehensive infrastructure monitoring, and goods transportation.
The EE network’s high priority and ultra responsive connectivity equate to a safer, controlled, and telemetry-compatible drone usage, which paves the way for ultra-high definition video streaming from great heights. This technological marvel allows drone operators to gather detailed, survey-grade visuals for a wide spectrum of applications, including but not limited to, search and rescue operations, and infrastructure inspection campaigns.
Drone SIM certainly ventures into new territories of drone flight. With UK’s largest geographic coverage under their wing, uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) now can operate at peak performance over vast distances while maintaining uninterrupted communication with their remote pilots and safety systems. This significant advancement goes beyond the previous limitations of line-of-sight radio transmission or local Wi-Fi connections, thus opening considerable opportunities in various industries.
Etc., BT Group’s startup incubation arm, has played a paramount role in fidgeting with inventive possibilities in the drone space. Their previous collaboration with Altitude Angel on a £5 million deal, aimed at establishing the pioneering drone superhighway in the UK, demonstrates their commitment to stirring innovation in the industry. Alongside, Drone SIM’s successful trials and development included partnering with drone technology provider, sees.ai, for critical infrastructure inspection, and Skylift, for testing BVLOS mission safety standards.
Dave Pankhurst, Director of Drones at BT, expressed his excitement, stating, “Following the successful trials of our Drone SIM over the past year, this announcement is a huge stepping stone in bringing drone connectivity to businesses across the UK, unlocking potential for more efficient processes, business transformation and, with the ability to power search and rescue missions and medical deliveries, helping to save lives.”
Contributing to the conversation, Eduardo Aldaz-Carroll, CTO of sees.ai, stressed the significance of inspecting critical national energy infrastructures. He stated, “Drones offer significant benefits by increasing the speed, efficiency and consistency of data capture so we can predict the future state of the asset with reduced risk and environmental impact. It’s great to be working with BT Group to develop the technologies required to roll out BVLOS drone inspection and monitoring at scale.”
Nick Ruggles, CTO of Skylift, lauded the initiative, affirming that Drone SIM has drastically reduced their deployment times, hence changing the game for them. Georgia Hanrahan, the COO at Skyfarer, painted a picture of the future, envisaging a 60% reduction in delivery time with a nationwide scale-up.
Drone SIM is now available for purchase on the official BT website.