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Phoenix rises: Liverpool announces test and development area for drone technology

By Chris Stonor

 A test and development area for drone technology is to be created in the Liverpool City Region as part of efforts to accelerate investment opportunities for the area as well as economic growth, employment and skills creation, reports

Dubbed Phoenix I, the project will be delivered in a partnership between the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) and consulting firm Drone Major Group. It entails the delivery of drone services across surface, underwater, air and space environments. According to the group, the projects will be “commercially viable, scalable and environmentally sustainable”.

The project already has a roadmap, with key areas of focus and a pathway to develop drone capability in the segments of urban logistics, the environment, security, maritime logistics, port and maritime, and the wider community. The Phoenix program currently comprises 10 initiatives addressing these sectors in the UK. The project will utilise “a common operational model and advanced data analysis.”

Steve Rotheram

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said, “The Liverpool City Region is a digital powerhouse. We have the world-class infrastructure, expertise and ambition to be leaders of the fourth industrial revolution. It’s fantastic to see the Drone Major Group choosing to open their test and development area here.”

He continued, “This project will deliver new jobs and investment and will attract people to our area, not just to work but to study too, knowing that we are working on cutting-edge and exciting projects such as this, as well as ambitious plans in everything from digital infrastructure to tidal power.”

As well as the Drone Major Group, LCRCA has convened a number of other stakeholders that will be involved in the delivery of the projects, including Peel Ports Group, LogisticsUK, SP Energy Networks, Manufacturing Technology Centre, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University.

It is hoped the initiative will stimulate Liverpool City Region’s investment opportunities, as well as enhancing its reputation as a technology innovation hub. The project aligns with recent announcements such as the combined authority’s emerging Climate Action Plan that outlines the region’s decarbonisation agenda, and the granting of free-port status for Liverpool City Region announced in the Budget on March 3rd, 2021.

Robert Garbett

Robert Garbett, founder of Drone Major Group, commented, “Drones represent an unprecedented growth opportunity across a huge number of global industries. Liverpool City Region has clearly demonstrated its commendable intent to adopt a sustainable and commercially viable drone technology system for the city, ahead of the curve, which sets an example to all.”

He added the initiative would create an “overwhelmingly positive impact” on economic growth in the UK and globally, through “enhanced commerce, employment, skills, education and decarbonisation”.

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