It’s easy to be misled by the news headlines into thinking that drones have nothing positive to offer the UK economy and indeed society but the CAA, as the body in charge of creating the set of rules and regulations that control their use, were keen to get behind the front pages and find out what people really thought about UAVs.
So they interviewed a large number of people from members of the public through to commercial pilots to try to find out where opinion really lies and to be able to build a picture to help them shape the future of the UK Drone Industry.
A recent report into the UK economy was carried out by PWC and it had some surprising results and predictions as to how important the drone industry is going to become to the state of our nation.
- Boost the UK economy by £42bn by 2030
- Create £16bn of savings through increased efficiency
Elaine Whyte, speaking on behalf of PWC, said
‘In order to realise the full 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 currently viewed as more of a toy, 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.’
This sentiment was backed up by Baroness Suggs, the UK’s Aviation Minister.
‘PwC’s research demonstrates the significant economic benefits that drone technology can bring to the UK. …they are already improving people’s lives – helping the emergency services and keeping key national infrastructure like rail lines and power stations safe. Excitingly this is just the beginning, which is why Government is doing everything possible to harness the huge future potential through our Industrial Strategy and Drones Bill.’
So it’s clear that the public’s perception of drones has a vital role to play in shaping the right legislation to allow the fledgling industry to fulfil it’s potential.
The results in a way were unsurprising. Safety was the number one concern for the vast majority of people with increased regulation being welcomed alongside seeing action being taken for those who flout the rules – something that is planned in the new Drone bill which potentially see the police able to issue spot fines and even confiscate drones and their media if they believe that the laws have been broken.
There was some great news for the Drone Code – launched by the CAA to bring the rules surrounding drone flight to the awareness of the public, particularly amongst the hobbyist community. The awareness of the code and the rules for safe flight it sets out are becoming more firmly ingrained into the minds of the UK public with 73% of those interviewed being already aware of it.
Like most products and services nowadays, it was felt that mobile applications were going to play in an important role in the future of the UK drone for all pilots from commercial to recreational flyer. There are already several in existence designed to make flight planning easier by providing the user with essential airspace and environmental conditions and also feeding back into a centralised NATS system to allow planned drone flights to be considered when monitoring air traffic. At DSR, we recommend that everyone use one of these free apps to log all of their flights to allow us to be more aware of what is in the skies around us.
At DSR we guarantee that all of our pilots are safe, legal and operating to the highest standards but we recognise that we are operating at the forefront of a brand new industry that is still new to many people. So the CAA’s reports and work to bring understanding all that drone photography, thermography and videography to the UK population is very welcomed by us and we will watch with interest the findings of future reports and how they are used to shape legislation.