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£1.2m fund backs drones to deliver freight to isolated parts of the UK

Drones will take to the sky in the Orkney Islands, as part of a £1.2m funding package to encourage more innovative and cleaner freight delivery solutions across the country.

Skysports Deliveries – which provides infrastructure for the air mobility industry – won £150,000 and will use the drones to “improve island to island connectivity,” and make deliveries.

The Freight Innovation Fund, backed by £7m overall, forms part of the government’s Future of Freight plan, which launched last year. It aims to encourage economic growth and tackle the global HGV driver shortage caused by the pandemic.

Skysports Deliveries joins nine others winners of the first round of funding. Electrical Assisted Vehicles, another recipient, received £150,000 to develop a lightweight, electrically assisted delivery vehicle.

Roads Minister Richard Holden said, “whether it’s drones for deliveries on remote islands or zero emission buggies – we want to invest in future technology that could transform how we move goods around the country while reducing emissions and traffic and creating skilled jobs.”

“The Freight Innovation Fund gives innovators the opportunity to test their ideas and help our freight industry become greener and more efficient – unlocking better connectivity and boosting growth across the country.”

Nicola Yates OBE, the CEO of Connected Places Catapults, which will deliver the programme, said: “the freight sector has an enormous opportunity to support jobs and growth across the UK, which is why today we are pleased to welcome the 9 SMEs to the first round of the Freight Innovation Fund Accelerator.

Working with innovators and industry partners through our accelerator programme allows us to develop a pipeline of technology and new ideas that promise to help tackle the freight sector’s emerging needs, ensuring that resilience, efficiency and carbon reduction are core to the sector’s future.”

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£1.2m fund backs drones to deliver freight to isolated parts of the UK

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