Cross-Solent UAV (Drone) attempt world-first (Updated)

Setting off from Ryde at 6:40. Also being covered live on BBC South Today.

Cross-Soelnt UAV by Sarah Farmer (cropped)

At 6:40 this evening a World-first is being attempted from Ryde.

The clever-sticks at Southampton University (Dr Stephen Prior and his PhD students Mehmet Ali Erbil and Mantas Brazinskas) will be flying a Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV)/drone 4.4 miles from Ryde to Southsea.

It will take off, navigate its way across and land – all automatically.

Impressive in itself, but there’s more.

Auto-switch equipment
The UAV has low-powered radio equipment on-board, which shouldn’t be able to operate over such a long distance.

To address this, halfway through its journey over the Solent, equipment on the UAV will automatically switch its equipment to point from the Isle of Wight, to Southsea, thus doubling its effective range.

12 minutes journey
The journey is expected to take 12 minutes – similar to the Hover’s crossing time.

You can watch it all on BBC South Today, who will be covering the event.

Sarah Farmer will be covering the launch, live at 6:40, and Tom Hepworth, its arrival.

Update 13 May 2014: Last night OnTheWight spoke to Southampton University and learnt that the craft was lost one mile into the journey, perhaps not surprising given the winds were gusting 23 knots.

They were sanguine about the loss, summing it up with “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

It’s possible that if the launch/journey wasn’t linked to the live TV broadcast, they might not have attempted the journey in those conditions.

Image: Sarah Farmer

Friday, 9th May, 2014 6:28pm



Filed under: Isle of Wight News, Ryde, Isle of Wight, Top story

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11 Comments on "Cross-Solent UAV (Drone) attempt world-first (Updated)"

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Mr Einsteins Ghost

Epic. Full stop.

Mason Watch

For sale, water damaged drone….. Yours if you can find it

Mark Giddens

So what happened , where did it get too ??


What happened? Very little. It began it’s flight over the Solent… and hasn’t been seen since.

Ed Mew

I believe we have our very own (Bermuda triangle here)! not only has this aircraft gone missing, but also the Hovercrafts disappeared today as well!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark Francis

Perhaps its gone to blow apart some village of goat herders up the Khyber Pass.
Maybe not that sort of drone then?


Someone, somewhere said ‘watch this!’ shortly before the flight started.

Kiss of death.

Mark Francis

What chance Mars?
(looks like I’ve offended the CIA in the last comment then)


I heard Amazon were using them to deliver Snickers actually….


Wasn’t it Knickers? M&S are reviewing their delivery strategy! :-)