Drones could add £42bn to UK economy by 2030 with more than a third to be in the public sector

 
Emily Nicolle
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New research shows that drone tech could increase UK GDP by 2 per cent
New research shows that drone tech could increase UK GDP by 2 per cent (Source: Getty)

Drone technology could increase UK GDP by two per cent, or £42bn, by 2030, with more than a third of new drones to be utilised by the public sector, says new research from PwC.

The report estimates that there will be more than 76,000 drones in use across the UK by that time, with public sector areas like defence, health and education to be the most interested in incorporating drones into their activities.

PwC believes there are significant opportunities for economic gain across all sectors, but that the £42bn uplift would have the largest impact on British wholesale and retail trade, accounting for around £7.7bn of that number.

Finance, insurance, and professional and administrative services could also stand to gain from an increase in drone tech, as the research suggests a potential GDP increase of £10.4bn (or 1.6 per cent) would be on the cards.

Read more: Ready for take off: London to explore how drones can work for the capital

“Drones have the potential to offer a powerful new perspective for businesses across a variety of industries, delivering both productivity benefits and increased value from the data they collect,” said Elaine Whyte, UK drones leader at PwC.

“The UK has the opportunity to be at the leading edge of exploiting this emerging technology, and now is the time for investments to be made in developing the use cases and trial projects needed to kickstart our drone industry.”

Through increased productivity alone, drone technology could help the UK achieve up to £16bn in net cost savings, with 628,000 jobs established in the drone economy by 2030.

Whyte continued: “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.”

Read more: How to train your drone: Government promises new safety rules

UK aviation minister Baroness Sugg said she approved of the research, and its demonstration of the economic benefits that drone technology could bring to the country. Sugg added that drones are “already improving lives by helping emergency services, and keeping key national infrastructure like rail lines and power stations safe”.

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