British unmanned aircraft developer Blue Bear Systems Research has begun flights along a corridor established in the U.K. for beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) testing in conjunction with Cranfield University.

Blue Bear said it has performed so-called extended-visual-line-of-sight patterns within the Cranfield air traffic control zone as part of work to set up the National BVLOS Experimentation Corridor (NBEC) that the two organizations announced last August. The corridor is being established to test technologies that will enable unmanned aircraft to fly in non-segregated airspace. The aim is ultimately to extend the size of the NBEC, from Blue Bear’s headquarters in Oakley, England, to the university-operated Cranfield Airport, about 12 mi. away.

Once established, the NBEC will be open to other companies and research organizations looking to test BVLOS UAVs and traffic management systems. Later, part of the corridor will be enabled with 5G mobile communications technology under a UK government testbed program. With future plans to enable the entire corridor, 5G is seen as an enabling technology for both unmanned air and ground vehicles.