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Can drones give a ?42bn lift to Britain's economy?

Drones monitoring roads for car crashes and directing emergency services, speeding up surveys in construction by doing them from the air, or even managing inaccessible mines could deliver a massive boost to Britain’s economy, it has been claimed.
PwC has estimated that by 2030 drones could boost Britain’s GDP by ?42bn, and create cost savings of ?16bn as they make work more efficient.
Elaine Whyte, UK drones leader at PwC and an engineer with the RAF for 20 years prior to joining the consultancy, said UAVs could give businesses a “powerful new perspective” with the data they can collect from their sensors and cameras. However, she warned that while Britain had the potential to become a world leader in their development, legal hurdles needed to be ­overcome.
At the moment, Civil Aviation Authority rules limit drones to flying below 400ft and not beyond visual sight – generally accepted to be about 1,500ft. However, special permission can be gained beyond these rules, and the UK has proved one of the most open countries towards their testing.
Two years ago, Amazon started testing UAVs designed to deliver small packages in Britain.
Can drones give a ?42bn lift to Britain's economy?

Amazon came to the UK for drone tests as it found the regulatory regime welcoming 

Credit:
Amazon
Ms Whyte added: “There is a need for current UK drone regulation to advance to see the estimations in our report become a reality, but it’s positive to see the Government already taking proactive steps to address this with the draft Drones Bill.”
The Bill includes measures to make drone users sign up to a central register, tests for UAV pilots and a ban on flights near airports, with police having the power to seize rogue drones.
PwC said moves must be made to improve confidence in drones and for people to see them as more than a toy.
Can drones give a ?42bn lift to Britain's economy?

EasyJet has piloted using drones to carrying out checks on aircraft 

Credit:
Julian Simmonds
Once this is achieved - along with a new regulatory environment -  PwC says the public sector is likely to be the biggest beneficiary, delivering a ?11.4bn boost to GDP. This could come through drones being used in instances such as monitoring fires, delivering medicines, defibrillators or rescue equipment.
The finance sector could also get a ?10.4bn lift, through UAVs being able to do faster insurance damage assessments, followed by construction with surveys being carried out more efficiently.
Can drones give a ?42bn lift to Britain's economy?

Drone can monitor large areas of crops so harvests can be taken at the optimum time 

Credit:
DPA
Telecoms and electricity companies could use drones to monitor their networks, with drones even used to carry out small repairs. Agriculture could also benefit with UAVs tracking crops and being used to spray pesticides.  
Baroness Sugg, Aviation Minister said: “This research demonstrates the significant economic benefits that drone technology can bring to the UK. This is just the beginning - Government is doing everything possible to harness the huge future potential through our Industrial Strategy and Drones Bill.”
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