A landmark White Paper, setting out a route for the UK government to accelerate the growth of the drone industry and transform the UK’s capability to achieve world-leadership in drone technology, has today been presented to the government following unanimous industry support during a three month period of consultation.
The White Paper, ‘The commercialisation of the UK air drone industry’ has been developed by the not-for-profit industry initiative Drone Delivery Group, which brings together the first independent collaborative grouping of over 300 companies and organisations involved in all aspects of the drone industry. It calls for the development of new testing grounds to deliver public safety, advance the industry, support the ambition of UK Plc to become a global leader in drone technology and to provide a solution to the sector’s biggest challenge in making commercial drone flights an exciting reality in UK skies.
The transformative impact of drone technology is set to be a game-changer for the global economy, with Barclay’s recently predicting that the global drone market is set to grow ten-fold in the next five years alone, reaching an estimated value of £30 billion, with a potential £77 billion in savings. The report highlights that the UK now has a window of opportunity to seize a leading role in reaping the potential of this cutting-edge technology.
The long-awaited White Paper, developed over two years, followed by a thorough public consultation process, addresses the vital need for a safe infrastructure where drones can operate safely in airspace potentially shared with other manned or unmanned aircraft. This includes testing sites for drones considered essential in enabling the commercial value of the industry to be realised. It states that ‘a national approach is urgently needed’ in order to ensure this ‘vital foundation for the drone industry’ is established quickly.
Robert Garbett, chairman of the UK Drone Delivery Group, said: “The presentation of this White Paper to the Government is a huge milestone for the progress of the UK drone industry. The industry guidance is clear, and the potential benefits are vast.
“Drone technology will transform our immediate and long-term future, a positive game-changer for the global economy, with benefits for business, local communities and our quality of life.
“Our guidance to Government, outlined in the White Paper, urges the creation of testing sites throughout the UK, a process that we in the Drone Delivery Group, have already started, with considerable interest, particularly from airports and large landowners.”
“The government has been very supportive of the drone industry and it recognises that the speed of growth of this extraordinary sector will be guaranteed if we focus on the testing of its effectiveness and public safety, as outlined in our White Paper today. This acceleration of the drone industry will provide economic growth, jobs and career opportunities now, and for generations to come.
“Implementing the guidance recommended in the Drone Delivery Group’s White Paper is paramount to ensuring the UK grasps the outstanding opportunity for this industry’s future growth. The USA, China and Japan have already started to embrace the need for testing infrastructure but have yet to evolve to a model which will accelerate the commercialisation of the industry. It is essential we act now.”