Last week, PwC released a report outlining their latest research and predictions for the future of the UK drone market. This marks one of the first major studies into the impact of UAV technology on the UK economy and the opportunities it could create within each sector. As the report highlights, “Drones are becoming an increasingly familiar aspect of life and work in the UK today, playing a growing role in areas ranging from emergency services to construction to oil and gas. But this is just the start.” We’ve summarised the main report findings, with the below infographic showing the impact drones could make on the UK economy by 2030:
As the research suggests, there is huge growth opportunity within various sectors of the UK economy, through the introduction and safe integration of drone technology. We will see these developments take place over the next decade, with increased productivity resulting in approximately 76,000 drones flying within UK airspace. It’s projected that 36% of these will be used for defence, health and education, in the effort to increase safety in the UK.
The report also highlights that although the initial increase in the use of drone technology could lead to some job role redundancy, ultimately it will transform current roles and create new jobs to ensure this change is sustainable. PwC reports the GDP uplift will affect multiple sectors, ‘with the UK’s technology, media and telecoms (TMT) sector reaping the biggest cost reductions, at some £4.8bn by 2030. Other sectors including financial services, transport and logistics, and government services have great potential to see major savings.’
With a projected net impact of £42bn, it’s clear this is something we should all be preparing for by exploring the possibility for growth within our sectors. As Elaine Whyte, PwC Director of Technology and Investments explains, “I envisage that the advantages of drone technology will be well established within the decade – not only for business purposes, but also for helping to protect our society. In order to realise the potential from drones the immediate focus must be on developing society’s confidence in the technology to help drive acceptance and increase adoption. While drones are often viewed as more of a toy currently, by combining this emerging technology with the right business understanding and human insight there is a huge opportunity to help solve some of business and society’s most important problems.”
We’re already seeing this happen across the pond, with the US setting an example of how to integrate commercial drone technology into everyday society through their UAS Integration Pilot program. And with the forthcoming changes to UK drone laws, we’re also taking a step towards further integration into UK skies.
The unwavering question we should all be asking ourselves is, ‘are UK business owners willing to invest in UAV technology and if so, how are we preparing for this?’ As the report suggests, it’s something the public sector, as well as the construction and retail sectors, should be addressing if they want to take advantage of the opportunity to save costs and increase productivity by introducing drones into their commercial operations. For this to happen, the bodies that regulate UK airspace (CAA, EASA) along with the UK government, will need to put in place an effective framework that both opens up opportunity for everyone to undertake commercial drone work, yet ensures people, structures and vehicles are kept safe with the resulting increased traffic in UK airspace. It is likely we will soon see the first stage of this concept, with the release of EASA’s official Opinion on the previous Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) earlier this year providing a key indication that change is on the horizon.
If you have any questions on the PwC report or simply want more information about piloting a drone for recreational or commercial use in the UK, don’t hesitate to contact our team of experts on 0330 111 8800.
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