In July, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng revealed plans for the world's largest automated drone superhighway in the UK as part of a £273 million funding package for the aerospace sector.
This is an exciting development for the industry. Still, for it to be a real success, the industry and government need to focus on creating new regulations and greater public awareness – Anthony Spouncer, Inmarsat's Senior Director of UAVs and UTM, sheds more light on this below.
“The government’s announcement of a drone superhighway and investment in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) across the UK is undoubtedly good news. We know that the future of many industries, including critical sectors like healthcare, will come to depend on drones in just a few years’ time – so it’s very encouraging to see the UK pushing this forward.
“We expect there to be over 10 million commercial UAVs in flight by 2030 – and an estimated 600,000 of these will be flying beyond visual line of sight (outside the pilot’s visibility). This is in addition to an already crowded airspace in many parts of the world – especially in European skies. Drones promise huge opportunities, but also present safety and security challenges that need to be addressed to make the most of these investments.
“Before we can make a real success of these UAV investments, we need two things: new rules and regulations, and a better public awareness of what benefits drones will bring to our lives. Ensuring regulation is created to integrate uncrewed aviation into our existing airspace will be crucial.
With a huge increase of air vehicles in the skies, we need regulation and the right technologies to introduce more drones into our skies safely. Meanwhile, another priority should be showing the public that drones aren’t something to be feared, or ignored, but something that can have a real positive impact on our daily lives – especially the lives of those who live in rural and remote parts of the UK.”