BT Group announced plans to invest £5 million in start-up Altitude Angel, as part of a push to scale-up the country’s drone economy through applying the technology in industrial and commercial use cases.

In a statement, BT explained its investment agreement will involve collaboration between Altitude Angel and its digital unit to improve the development of the national drone superhighway, which the duo claimed is the world’s largest drone network, alongside backing Altitude Angel’s drone detector technologies and operations.

Under the new partnership, the pair aims to deploy drone innovations in retail as well as allowing long distance drone flights to improve essential services covering “fast transportation of medical supplies, farming analysis and architectural planning”, initiatives it argued are vital to achieving a drone industry worth £45 billion in 2030.

BT will support Altitude Angel’s tower network by providing connectivity as well as being the key reseller of the start-up’s software “in addition to providing commercial support for drone deliveries in retail and automated, smart drone inspections of critical infrastructure”.

The operator added the deal was an upshot of the pair’s previous partnership to form a 165-mile UK drone corridor connecting the airspace above Reading, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Coventry and Rugby, which it will look to expand to more cities going forward.

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