Drone pioneers join Hartpury’s Tech Box Park


DronePrep, a drone technology business dedicated to opening up low-level airspace for responsible drone use, is the latest company to join Hartpury’s Digital Innovation Farm Tech Box Park.

DronePrep, who support drone delivery projects across the UK via their innovative technology platform and Drone Delivery Register app, connect drone pilots with landowners allowing them to plan flights and create safe spaces in low-level airspace in which to fly.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company partnered with Royal Mail, NHS and other biotech companies to offer the UK’s first scheduled drone flights to deliver essential PPE and Covid-19 test kits to remote communities.

Hartpury’s Tech Box Park facility is dedicated to enabling the growth of innovative local businesses looking to develop new or existing products and accelerate them into the agri-tech market. The DronePrep platform has also been used on pioneering agri-tech R&D projects to allow farmers to utilise low-level airspace above their land more effectively for monitoring crop growth and vegetation.

DronePrep Co-Founder and CEO, Gareth Whatmore said: “The DronePrep team have been working closely with the Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre team to explore how farmers can use drones to create diversified income for farm estates. It’s been an amazing adventure thus far and we’re incredibly excited to join the Tech Box Park community to strengthen ties with Hartpury and the farming community.”

Catherine Briggs, Digital Innovation Farm Tech Box Park Manager said: “We’re excited to welcome the DronePrep entrepreneurs to the Tech Box Park community and very much look forward to supporting them with the development of their pioneering drone delivery technology.”

The Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre is the first phase of Hartpury’s 2030 Digital Innovation Farm vision. A £2million investment including £1.25million of government funding through the GFirstLEP initiative, allowed Hartpury to launch the Agri-Tech Centre in 2019 and a modern dairy parlour in 2020, allowing for smart data-driven research to be carried out on-site.

Providing an industry facing facility for current and future generation farmers combined with the latest available agri-technologies allows staff, students and resident businesses to showcase the latest technological practices and solutions available to the farming sub-sectors. Hartpury’s commercial farm also supplies the likes of Muller, Marks & Spencer and Frontier Agriculture.

The Digital Innovation Farm project provides a unique opportunity for students and staff to connect with business, whether through research partnerships or work placement and employment opportunities.

Russell Marchant, Vice-Chancellor of Hartpury University said: “By 2030, our state-of-the-art complex will be attracting leading agri-tech companies and contributing to increased productivity in the UK and beyond."

Hartpury University’s BSc (Hons) Agriculture has been designed to cater for those wishing to target their studies more specifically in areas such as Crop Production, International and Livestock Production. Students complete around 800 hours in industry as part of their degree studies, putting their academic learning into practice and gaining the industry expertise that employers are looking for.

A Professional Certificate of Higher Education Agricultural Enterprise Management has been introduced for those specifically seeking managerial roles within diverse farm enterprises. An MSc Applied Agricultural Sciences programme has also been added for 2022, Hartpury University’s first agricultural postgraduate degree.


Share this article