A drone is a small, airborne vehicle that can be operated remotely. Drones don’t usually have any people inside – a pilot controls the drone from the ground. Another name for drone is Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
A drone port is a fixed location for housing, maintaining and launching drones. Think of it like a heliport, with many take-off and landing sites to support multiple drones at once.
Drones offer unique benefits for logistics, inspections and asset management. They are fast, green, and don’t get stuck in traffic. In areas with mountainous terrain, waterways and other obstacles, a drone can be the most effective and eco-friendly option.
It’s unlikely drones will ever completely replace cars, lorries or boats, but they do offer a viable alternative option in many scenarios. Mercury Drone Ports will demonstrate drone use for both offshore (e.g. wind farms, oil and gas) and onshore (e.g. agriculture, NHS services) use cases.
Drones aren’t silent, but they aren’t as loud as you would expect. The take-off and landing can be a little noisy – around 70-80db, so imagine being about 15-20ft away from the rubbish disposal truck. During flight, a drone makes a whirring sound at around 40-50db, so not much louder than bird calls or a quiet conversation.
Many drones do carry cameras, but the drones that will be used in the pilot phases for the Mercury Drone Port do not. Instead, they have multiple sensors onboard to ensure a safe flight.
UK regulations on drone flight require a pilot to be able to see the drone they are operating – this is often referred to as Within Visual Line of Sight. For drones which are flown Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) authorisation is required, and the airspace will be carefully managed to prevent collisions.
Pilots carrying out commercial operations must have the relevant training and qualifications before flying. All drones are registered with the CAA and privately insured.
In most cases – no. The drones will be flying at a fixed height, on a fixed route, avoiding built-up areas and popular spots for aerial hobbies. Planned trial flights will be published on this website to ensure any potential airspace interactions are accounted for.
With its relatively quiet airspace, good transport connections and strong links to engineering and manufacturing, Angus offers the ideal environment for drones. The town of Montrose, which hosts important assets in both the offshore oil and gas industry and the offshore wind industry, offers a pool of transferable skills and expertise to the relatively new drone industry.
Drone delivery is a relatively new concept, so there is a lot of thinking, planning and consultation behind the preparations for a flight. Consortium partners are currently working with landowners, authorities and local residents to ensure the best routes are agreed for everyone involved.
Confirmed routes and schedules for drone flights will be published on the website soon.
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We’re looking for project supporters and collaborators locally, nationally and from around the world to join us and help make Angus a Centre of Excellence for the Development of Drone Technology.