The UK government has released a study it commissioned on the effects of drone activity in coming years, with best-case scenarios in it forecasting an additional $54 billion in economic growth and 650,000 potential new jobs by 2030.
The Skies without Limits v2.0 report was produced by consultancy PwC, and presented by the UK government’s Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and Department of Transport. The survey aimed to anticipate the likely effects of what continues to be robust development and growth of enterprise and public service drone activity in the UK, and underline factors involved that must be nurtured to produce maximal results.
The report predicted that if drone activity in the UK receives the support it needs to fulfill its growth potential, the sector is likely to add $54 billion to the UK economy by 2030 while also realizing $26.3 million in net savings through improved efficiency of tasks performed. It was also expected to send around 900,000 UAVs aloft, produce 650,000 new jobs, and reduce carbon emissions by 2.4 million tons by the end of this decade alone.
But to attain those results, the paper noted officials, regulators, companies, and investors will need to work together to nurture expanded and more efficient drone activity in the UK. Some of those elements are already the focus of the government’s Future of Flight Plan, and Future of Flight Industry Group developing new applications and users of aviation and airspace.
Continuing effort in that direction, the survey noted, is needed in regulation that supports safe innovation; sustained public investment in state-of-the-art UK technology; mainstreaming drone use in business; supporting sector dynamism; communications and connectivity to improve effective data transmission to and from UAVs; a push to develop operational and tech skills the sector will require to flourish; and in engaging the public to earn its confidence and backing of expanded aerial services in peoples’ lives – especially when they begin traveling in craft like air taxis.
While painting a positive picture of the benefits increased drone operations will provide the nation in coming years, notes the UK’s Drone Industry Action Group chair Iain Gray, the paper also lays bare areas where the country still needs to do work to allow the sector to fully take wing.
“For too many businesses this potential is obscured by regulation, and end-users are unsure what is legal and what they should buy,” Gray writes in the introduction. “To achieve this potential will need collaboration. It is in all our interests to ensure continued confidence in UK airspace safety and for the UK to harness new technology to make existing aviation safer and to reap the multiple benefits from new drone services. This report shines a light on some of the more significant barriers to realizing drone potential and recommends actions necessary to address them. The sector stands ready to work with UK government and regulatory authorities to overcome these.”