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UK government says drones could add UKP45 billion to UK economy by 2030

The UK government has published its vision for a UK drone sector which could generate up to UKP45 billion to the UK economy by 2030.

Its Advancing airborne autonomy: use of commercial drones in the UK vision was launched today at the Farnborough Air Show.

“Drones present a significant and exciting opportunity for the UK. They offer public and private organisations an opportunity to carry out tasks faster, safer, cheaper and with less impact on the environment than traditional methods. They will soon fulfil their promise of bringing deliveries by air (and eventually of carrying humans too) and will help save lives in the trained hands of our emergency services. They will also contribute to improving domestic connectivity and levelling up by providing better services to and from remote or isolated communities. PwC’s Skies without Limits v2.0 estimates that by 2030, assuming ‘best-case’ adoption:

  • Drones could contribute up to UKP45 billion to the UK economy
  • More than 900,000 drones could operate in the UK’s skies
  • UKP22 billion in net cost savings could be realised
  • Carbon emissions could be reduced by 2.4 million tons
  • 650,000 jobs could be associated with an economy that fully adopts drones

To maximise the impact of drones on the UK economy and society, the UK government has said: “we will build on our existing capabilities, to smooth the regulatory path and to support the UK’s innovators to thrive. This Ambition Statement outlines core components for delivery, including:

  • Government’s Future of Flight Plan and Future of Flight Industry Group in developing a pathway to new uses and users of aviation and airspace
  • Funding to ensure the UK supports and builds on the best of British drone technology, including through the Future Flight challenge, investing in and demonstrating new operating models and developing new frameworks to enable drone capabilities to thrive
  • Implementation of sector-specific skills and CPD programmes to support effective end-user drone adoption and integration
  • Supporting drone innovators in their ambitions to start-up and grow their businesses in the UK, and convening the Drone Industry Action Group to support collaboration between government and the drone community
  • Wider regulatory support to enable routine drone operations, including a well resourced CAA and refreshed Airspace Modernisation Strategy, and an Ofcom consultation to deliver robust drone communications and connectivity aiming to enable 4G and, in time, 5G for commercial use
  • Active public outreach and communications underlining the positive potential uses for and benefits of commercial drones.”

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