The White Paper calls for the development of new testing grounds, which are expected to significantly transform the UK’s potential to achieve world-leading status in the fast-moving drone industry.
Robert Garbett, founder of the UK Drone Delivery Group, stated:
“The release of this White Paper for public consultation represents a major milestone for the UK drone industry. The mass-participation drone testing programme that the White Paper calls for will significantly transform the UK’s capability to achieve world-leadership in this industry.
“The recommendations in the White Paper highlight the practical measures necessary to enable full economic development of drones, including the testing of competing solutions to make Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flying possible.”
The UK Drone Delivery Group has already received widespread interest from many owners and operators of potential testing grounds and will soon embark on a series of pioneering projects to test the capabilities of drones across a range of sectors including parcel delivery for medicines and other supplies - agriculture and the emergency services.
Robert Garbett added:
“Facilitating a world leading UK commercial drone industry will bring immense benefits to UK plc, driving innovation, wealth creation and employment opportunities right across the economy. The pace of drone technology development around the world is accelerating, and the UK, if it moves quickly, can reap the full benefits of this technology, not just in the air, but also from drones developed to operate on land or water, underwater or in space.
“The potential benefits are staggering, but we need to act now. We are keen to identify new testing grounds to be used for take-off and landing, ideally including airports and airfields, but also forests, remote coastal areas and ports, through to residential areas and other dense urban environments.
“Industry is looking now to the Government to get behind this initiative, working with both public and private sector drone users to help create a world-beating UK industry that could play a huge role in underpinning our future economic prosperity.”
The economic impact of drone technology is expected to be massive, with Barclays having predicted in November 2019 that the commercial drone market could grow tenfold from $4billion in 2018 to $40 billion by 2023 and creating cost savings of $100 billion.
It is anticipated that, following the consultation, the completed White Paper will be ready for adoption by the end of June 2020, following a three-month period of consultation and review. The draft White Paper can be found here together with a form for comments. Feedback is requested by 31 May 2020.