Can you tell us what the project is about and how the idea of using drones to fill potholes in the UK came about?

This project aims to tackle the Grand Challenge of Zero disruption from street works in UK cities by 2050, by developing robots that will identify, diagnose and repair street-works through minimally invasive techniques, starting with three case studies:

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In advance of next week’s Global Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Association (GUTMA) conference, we caught up with Mark Watson, Head of UTM Service Integration at NATS and ANSP representative on the GUTMA Board, to learn more about what GUTMA is and does and why NATS are involved.

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We caught up with Dan Townsend, the Airside Operations and Safety Manager at Southampton Airport to check how Robird is settling in.

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Leaders in the aviation industry headed to Madrid for the sixth annual World ATM Congress last week to catch up on the latest technologies and conversations in ATC. NATS had a large presence at the event, focusing on three core themes…

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We understand you launched the first drone police unit earlier this year; what was the rationale behind that?

I was frustrated while dealing with an incident that our only aerial asset, a police helicopter, was deployed on another task so I was unable to get vital aerial footage that I needed for an investigation.

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The Government recently published its response to the consultation it ran on the safe use of drones in the UK. The headline announcement is the plan to introduce mandatory registration for drones over 250 grams in weight, as well as mandatory competency testing to support it.

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The closure of Gatwick airport’s runway on Sunday, as a result of a drone flying in the way of arriving aircraft, has prompted further debate about how we deal with the growing number of drones in the skies….

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Sunday’s incident at Gatwick, where a drone spotted on the airport’s final approach path caused the runway to be closed for two separate periods, has understandably received a lot of press coverage. The incident caused significant knock-on effects for air traffic control, beyond just stopping arrivals while the runway was closed and caused serious disruption in the sky above southern England.

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Navigation at sea is very different to aviation – with the exception of a few very busy traffic management schemes such as those in the English Channel, ships are largely left to depend upon the training of the captain and self-separation. But on the issue of drones, there is absolute agreement – they are already here and are able to deliver substantial benefit to UK plc.

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As we set a course for the new year, we thought it was a good time to reflect on our most popular web content for 2016; it gives us the chance to look again not just at the blog, but also our popular Discover features and the Drone Assist app.

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