Innovation in Reading

The council are happy to be in the hub of innovative technological developments. We have Green Park and other business parks in our area and are not far from London. We want to make the most of being in such a smart and forward-thinking town, and communicate this to our residents.


One of the biggest projects we’ve been helping with for the past two years is Skyway (or Project Skyway). It’s part of a program run by Innovate UK called Future Flight Challenge. The Skyway consortium is working with the Civil Aviation Authority to enable drones to travel Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS). This increases the distance they can travel, and the opportunities this can bring.

The consortium

The consortium consists of various businesses, local authorities, drone operators and also has connections with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and other various Future Flight Organisations.

Altitude Angel

Project consortium lead. Altitude Angel’s ARROW technology is the enabler for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) uncrewed flight. Their ARROW tower multi sensor arrays send feeds into Altitude Angel’s GuardianUTM (Unified Traffic Management) . Then instructions are sent to drone operators for the deconfliction of their drone and other crewed aviation.

Connected Places Catapult

Connected Places Catapult leads the Regulatory & Policy aspects of Project Skyway. They have a pivotal role in both stakeholder and public engagement. They consider the human factors element, ensuring a deep understanding of how people interact with the system. It also contributes to the future uses of the superhighway. The aim of this is to ensure its continued success.


Herotech8 is a well established drone operator. They use drones in drones-for-good use cases. Within Project Skyway, Herotech8 is trialling commercial building and infrastructure surveys. Drones enhance survey efficiency and safety. This reduces costs and time compared to traditional methods. Use of beyond visual line of sight operations will improve drone use in building surveying.

BT Group Plc

BT’s dedicated drone team are using their new Drone SIM within the Project Skyway trials. This allows operators to fly using cellular communications. Paired with BT’s Airborne RF, this combination gives visibility into Drone SIM coverage and operational areas. BT also have a deployed drone detection sensor, DroneShield, which plays a vital role on the ARROW towers. It enhances the overall capabilities of the system.


ARPAS-UK is the UK drone trade body. It plays an important role in Project Skyway by connecting the project with the drone community. It engages with them on the status of the project and relaying valuable insights to the project team. It also contributes to the education of key communities, demonstrating the benefits of drones for the UK economy. Finally, ARPAS-UK gives guidance to the regulatory side of the project and involvement in the expansion of the post project phase.

Reading Borough Council

The council’s involvement in Project Skyway revolves around local policy and public engagement. The council is looking at the safe integration and expansion of drone operations. This will pave the way for diverse benefits with the community and commerce.

Oxfordshire County Council

Oxfordshire County Council provides local policy guidance and engagement within Project Skyway. The council has a history of active involvement in drone projects. It contributes to the advancement of the drone industry. The council understands the benefits the industry brings. They are working towards the safe adoption and growth of drone operations.

Coventry City Council

Coventry City Council plays an important role in Project Skyway. They provide guidance on local policy and engagement. As a forward thinking council they have already taken part in the Air One Project. They now want to take the next steps in the development of the drone economy. The council recognises the benefits of lowering carbon emissions and providing efficient, safe and lower cost services to the community.

Angoka Limited

Angoka is a top cybersecurity startup. They are making a special system to keep communication safe for the superhighway network they all use. This trial shows how Angoka’s system can make sure communication is safe from cyber problems, making the whole network safer.

Vizgard Limited

Vizgards’ clever technology helps GuardianUTM make sense of what it sees, using data from the ARROW tower sensors. It changes the data so GuardianUTM can understand it better. This helps GuardianUTM watch over drone flights and keep them safe, even when they’re far away or out of sight.

Skyfarer Limited

Skyfarer carries out many different drone trials and projects. They were successful in flight trials connecting hospitals in Coventry and Rugby. This made delivering urgent medical supplies quicker and cheaper. In Project Skyway, Skyfarer is important for carrying out further trials. Their focus is on delivering medical supplies.


Skyports, a big drone company, is very important in testing how drones work in Project Skyway. They’re helping the Environment Agency in Reading by using drones to check waterways. This way is safer, cheaper, and better for the environment than the the traditional methods.

Further information

Reading Borough Council’s main job in the Skyway project is to listen to what concerns people in Reading have and to speak up for them. We’re also teaming up with academics and the NHS to make sure this project is good for Reading. There are lots of ways you can learn more about the project. There are links below to groups that make rules for the use of drones and the Skyway website.

Environmental concerns

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the local environment from a business perspective please contact the Environment Agency on 0800 807060. If you’d like to speak to someone about domestic environmental concerns please reach out to Reading Borough Councils Environmental Health team on 0118 937 3787.

Contact the consortium for more information

Contact us to get more information about the project.

Frequently asked questions about Skyway

Read frequently asked questions about Skyway.

Relevant new articles

The project has been featured in several news articles:

Innovate UK’s Future Flight Challenge

UK Research and Innovation news on Future Flight challenge.

Information on government engagement

GOV.UK information on drone legislation.

Other innovative programs

Berkshire Digital Infrastructure Group

The Berkshire Digital Infrastructure Group (DIG) wants to create a connected Berkshire. They work to make it easier for people and businesses to go online.

Find out more and sign up to the DIG mailing list.

Independent living technology-enabled care project

We’re doing a study to see how technology can help people stay in their homes longer without needing much help. We are working with organisations Howz and Lilli for this. We want to know what you think about this technology. How do you use it? What do you like or not like? Tell us about using the systems and getting equipment installed in your home.

Learn more about assistive technology for independent living and other technologies and services.

Last updated on 20/05/2024