Thursday, April 16, 2020

Comments Sought on the Future for Drone Technology in Logistics

UK White Paper Published by Advocates of the Machines
Shipping News Feature

UK – One of the most contentious issues with regard to logistics is that of the future for drones as a mode of industry support on land, sea and in the air, and the degree of their viability. The UK Drone Delivery Group, which was established to provide guidance on the steps required for the UK to accelerate the growth of the British drone sector, has released a White Paper with regard to the future of air borne drones.

The White Paper, viewable HERE, 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. With 300 members the Group says it 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. Founder Robert Garbett, commented:

“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.

“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.”

Advocates of the remotely controlled machines say 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 with some claiming the creation of 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. Feedback is requested by 31 May 2020 and can be made on the linked Comment Form.