Drone technology has the potential to transform our economies to be more sustainable and efficient, according to a new report from PwC. The professional services group looked at the impact that drones could have upon the UK economy, finding significant improvements across all sectors.
Adopting new technologies, such as drones, are seen as important ways to monitor and manage the increased risks posed by climate change. They could also add £42 billion to the UK economy, of which £1.1 billion is within agriculture, mining, and energy.
The report estimates that over 25,000 drones could be in operation across this sector by 2030, and 76,000 in the UK as a whole. PwC’s work shows that drones could be used in the agriculture sector to make it more productive and sustainable. Apart from use in crop spraying, drones can monitor the health of crops using thermal imaging and collect data on dry or flooded areas.
Previous research has highlighted the potential for drones to cut carbon emissions by delivering packages instead of heavy duty trucks. PwC’s analysis also highlights the wholesale and retail trade sector as one of the main benefciaries of unmanned vehicles. The industry is set to create £7.7 billion of new value across the next decade, the most of any sector assessed.
Elaine Whyte, at PwC, commented: “In order to realise the full potential from drones, the immediate focus must be on developing society’s confidence in the technology to help drive acceptance and increase adoption. While drones are often currently viewed as more of a toy, by combining this emerging technology with the right business understanding and human insight there is a huge opportunity to help solve some of business and society’s most important problems.”
Jonathan Gillham, economics director at PwC, added: “Drones could spark significant improvements in the UK economy. The rise in GDP and job creation from drone uptake are expected to be substantial, but productivity is likely to see the greatest gains. By automating routine tasks, improving effectiveness, safety and reducing costs, drones will free up people to focus on higher-value work.”