The Drone Delivery Group have presented a white paper to the UK government to provide the UK Drone Industry’s coordinated guidance on the Government’s Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill.
The group, who represent over 300 companies and organizations, want a more standardized government approach to drone technology to enable safe and secure rapid commercialization of the UK drone industry.
The main focus of the 14-page paper is the creation of sandboxes – temporary (virtual) or permanent (designed to transition to commercial operations) area in which drone manufacturers, operators, UTM and command and control communication service providers (C2 CSP) can test and evolve technology in an environment which does not require lengthy regulatory clearance and allows data to be shared and used to inform regulators and standards makers.
Robert Garbett, founder of the UK Drone Delivery Group, says, “The mass-participation drone testing program 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.”
The development of industry funded, government supported, commercial sandboxes will be essential to accelerate the development of industry sectors valuable to the UK economy, states the paper.
Robert adds, “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.”
Barclays estimate that the global commercial drone market will grow from £3bn last year to £30bn in five years. The FT believe the use of drones will result in cost savings of some £77bn due to increased delivery efficiency, and the knock-on reduction in road traffic.