Work starts on Coventry hub for police and delivery drones

Image source, Coventry City Council

Image caption,

The skyport is being built near Coventry's railway station

Construction has started on an air hub, which will act as a base for police and delivery drones.

The facility, known as Air One, is being built in Coventry ahead of a demonstration event later this year.

Urban-Air Port Limited (UAL) is working with car-maker Hyundai on the mini-airport, known as a skyport.

Backers have said sites like it could eventually host electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft such as air taxis and autonomous drones.

Image source, UAP Ltd

Image caption,

The site could be used by cargo drones as well as by police

West Midlands Police said it had been working with UAL to build an infrastructure network of take-off and landing sites for its drones to boost operations and aid the fight against crime.

The force plans to be part of a showcase on 25 April to demonstrate how the hub could benefit policing.

Originally planned to be built next to the Coventry Building Society Arena, the skyport is now located on a disused car park near the city's railway station.

Image source, Coventry City Council

Image caption,

A demonstration event is planned for April

Coventry City Council cabinet member, Jim O'Boyle said the start of building work showed the city was "leading the way" on transport innovation.

UAP founder and executive chairman, Ricky Sandhu, said he was "thrilled" building work was starting and said it was "a unique and transformative moment", which placed the UK "as the world's leading player in advanced air mobility".

The project was awarded a £1.2m government grant by UK Research and Innovation's Future Flight Challenge.

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