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Government Drone Pathfinder


The Pathfinder Programme is part of a wider programme of work, both government led and across the UK’s public and private sectors, aimed at enabling integration of drones into UK airspace. In 2018 the Programme’s focus was reviewed and refreshed, under the governance of the Department for Transport (DfT), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Connected Places Catapult.


The programme aims to rapidly drive progress in drone technology and regulation over the next ten years, enabling industry and the public sector to fully exploit the market in areas such as geo-mapping, infrastructure inspections, surveying and logistics to both commercial and public-sector industries.

The Programme will focus on identifying and overcoming the technical, operational, and commercial barriers, providing a platform for industry innovators to engage with government and the regulator at early stages, to jointly explore solutions and share information throughout the community. This increased engagement will serve to both maximise understanding of the current and future regulatory environment, as well as creating an opening for suggested adaptations to regulations where appropriate.

It is envisaged that this will assist in optimising the use of drones in the private and public sectors, enabling efficiency savings, improving their capabilities including the ability to carry out high risk activities in a safer way. The Programme will continue to explore solutions for safe, routine beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations across a range of application.


The Pathfinder Programme will take a phased approach to achieving routine use of drones within the UK by exploring specifically how routine BVLOS operations could be enabled by overcoming the identified challenges.


To ensure that the focus of the programme remains up to date, the list of challenges will be updated regularly based on actual industry engagement.

Governance Framework

You can now download our full programme framework if you wish to learn more about our activities. This document sets out the purpose and aspirations of the Pathfinder Programme, the governance, including the roles and responsibilities of the Steering Committee members, and the criteria and requirements for being a member of the Pathfinder programme.

The Pathfinder Community

Transport Infrastructure Construction: Sensat, Costain Group, IUK , The Connected Places Catapult

Energy Infrastructure: EIC, Callen-Lenz, Wales & West Utilities, Cadent, National Grid Transmission, Northern Gas Networks, Northern Powergrid, Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks, UK Power Networks, Callen-Lenz, Connected Places Catapult.

Geomapping: Ordnance Survey

Blue Lights: Ambulance, Fire, Police, NHS, NPAS

Rail: Network Rail, Connected Places Catapult

Maritime: Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)


As part of the Drone Pathfinder Programme, the Connected Places Catapult (CPC) will host a Government Drone Pathfinder Community Webinar on 24th June.

Please click here to register


As part of the Drone Pathfinder Programme the Connected Places Catapult (CPC) hosted a themed stakeholder workshop exploring current and future UAS academic research on the 3rd December.

Download Presentations from the 3rd December 2019 Academic Workshop here


As part of the Drone Pathfinder Programme, the Connected Places Catapult (CPC) hosted a Government Drone Pathfinder Community Day on 21st November in London.

Download Presentations from the 21st November 2019 Community Day here


As part of the Drone Pathfinder Programme, the Connected Places Catapult (CPC) hosted a themed stakeholder workshop exploring how data captured from drones can add value to business in different industry sectors on the 5th November.

Download Presentations from the 5th November 2019 Data workshop here


As part of the Drone Pathfinder Programme, the Connected Places Catapult (CPC) hosted a themed stakeholder workshop on the use of Drones in the Environment and Agriculture on the 24th July.

Download Presentations from the 24th July 2019 Environments and Agriculture workshop here


The pathfinder community meets once per quarter with the Pathfinder programme steering committee. These community days provide the community with the ability to network, socialise potential projects and opportunities, communicate project updates (challenges, benefits, methodologies, risks, etc).

Download Presentations from our 16th July 2019 Community Day here


If you are interested in attending one of our Pathfinder Community Days, please contact

Get in Touch

To find more about the Pathfinders or to get involved, please get in touch at

Ongoing Pathfinder Projects