Blue Bear opens 5G-enabled UAS test facility
Blue Bear has opened its 5G-enabled beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight test facility in Bedfordshire, UK, the company announced on 26 March.
The air corridor for UAS testing at the National BVLOS Experimental Centre (NBEC) was made possible by funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports. Blue Bear is part of the 5G Rural Integration Test-bed consortia which is trialling the use of 5G technology in a range of applications to connect rural communities.
The 16km NBEC air corridor connects Blue Bear’s Twinwoods Flight Test Centre and Cranfield University’s Airport and allows UAS and manned aircraft to share the same airspace.
Blue Bear performed the first BVLOS flights from the NBEC in December 2018 and will continue to instrument and achieve flight hours along the air corridor throughout 2019 with support from the NBEC consortia and the UK CAA.
Different types of 5G technology are being used to track and identify UAS along the corridor, as part of a multi-technology solution for the provision of a recognised air picture from Blue Bear facilities. Thales’s holographic radar will form a part of the solution, as will the provision of mobile 5G solutions from Vodafone.
Ian William-Wynn, managing director of Blue Bear, said: 'Blue Bear first flew their drones BVLOS in 2009. We opened NBEC to allow other drone operators and equipment suppliers to fly and test their next generation
technology in managed environments and scenarios representative of real operations. This facility will accelerate the uptake of UK’s latent drone technology and infrastructure in global markets.'
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