Drones set for major uplift of UK economy

Written by NTN staff

A new PwC report predicts 76,000 drones in use across UK skies by 2030, bringing billions in savings for construction & manufacturing and the public sector industries. The impact on jobs will also be substantial.

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles” (UAVs), are set to have a major impact on the UK’s economy, jobs, productivity and quality of life, according to PwC. The consultancy forecasts these devices will result in £16 billion on costs savings from the uptake of drone technologies and have a net positive impact of £42bn on the economy by 2030.

By that time, a whopping 76,000 drones will be circling in the air, many of them for industrial and professional use. Over a third (36%) will used by the public sector, including for defence, health and education, contributing to a safer UK.

The UK’s technology, media and telecoms (TMT) sector reaping the biggest cost reductions, at some £4.8bn by 2030. Other sectors including financial services, transport and logistics, and government services have great potential to see major savings. For the construction & manufacturing industry, PwC anticipates an £8.6bn GDP uplift; a further £11.4bn for the public sector, including health, defence and education; and £7.7bn in wholesale, retail trade and food services. Cost reductions from drone usage will feed into an increase of 3.2% in “multi-factor” productivity across the UK economy.

The impact on jobs will be substantial. PwC reckons the combination of drones and automation may initially lead to some posts becoming redundant, but over time the gains in cost savings, productivity and consumer demand generated by drones will create new jobs and have a transformational impact on how we work and live.

“Now is the time to explore and embrace the potential of drones, and lay the foundations for success in the drone-enabled world of 2030,” says PwC.

Today, they play a growing role in areas ranging from emergency services to construction to assessing claims. As they become commonplace, businesses and public services will need to use drones responsibly and ethically to allay public concerns over privacy and their misuse, warns the report.