Westcott Venture Park’s position as a launchpad for the development of drone technology has been further strengthened with the opening of a new Drone Test and Development Centre.
Westcott’s owner PATRIZIA Hanover Property Unit Trust has agreed a lease with the Satellite Applications Catapult on newly developed drone test facilities in a project funded by the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership (Bucks LEP).
The facilities include three large workshops from which companies candesign, build, test and operate advanced remotely piloted andautonomous aircraft or drones.
Drone operators and companies will be able to refine their product or services at the new facility, including capabilities that will support Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) which relies on space data and technology, and is fundamental to integrating drone aircraft safely into the UK’s national airspace.
The project will also bring a former Royal Air Force runway back into use as a 270-metre drone test runway for horizontal take-off and four dedicated landing pads for vertical, or vertical to horizontal, take-off. These facilities are welcomed by drone companies at a time when there are heavy restrictions on drone operations.
John Rippon, Programme Manager of the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership said: “The new Drone Test and Development Centre will help to shape and transform private and commercial aviation over the next decade, so we are proud to provide Getting Building Funds to help established this pioneering new facility.