UK drone group calls for testing areas


One of the UK’s leading drone experts today urged British property owners and business leaders to leverage the opportunity of their under-used land for drone testing, to help accelerate the rate of growth of the UK drone industry, in the face of what he described as ‘an emerging bottleneck to growth’.


Robert Garbett founder of the UK Drone Delivery Group, which is the first industry initiative to provide guidance on the steps required to enable accelerated commercialisation of the UK Drone Industry, stated 'There is a current unnecessary ‘bottleneck’ in the evolution of the drone industry and this primarily lies in the lack of controlled testing locations which can provide trial areas and safe environments to accelerate the development of drone technology, help to shape its standards, and ensure appropriate but non constricting regulations.'
He added 'The British Government has played a constructive role to date and the UK is a world leader in drone technology… but to stay ahead in this fast moving game, then business, local authorities, police, fire & rescue services and even members of the public, must work together in a partnership of participation and cooperation.'
Examples of desirable drone technology testing locations include not only large airports and aerodromes that may already be approved by the Civil Aviation Authority, but also forests, remote coastal areas and ports, through to residential areas and other dense urban environments. Garbett continued: 'Testing will need to include everything from simple potential drone tasks such as parcel delivery, to much more complex applications such as smart motorway monitoring, law enforcement rapid response and search and rescue.'
The economic benefits offered by drone technology are estimated to be massive, with significant growth expected to accelerate across surface, underwater, air and space, as well as emerging hybrid drone applications. In November 2019, analysts at Barclays predicted that the commercial drone market could grow tenfold from $4 bn in 2018 to $40 bn in five years, resulting in efficiency cost savings of some $100 bn.
Garbett: 'These predictions are dependent upon the business community and wider public recognising the important part they can play regarding potential testing locations and trial areas. The opportunity for the commercial drone market is vast, but with such a fast-growing emerging technology we have to ensure we act quickly, lest our ambitious international competitors overtake our lead.'
Those interested in participating in the UK Drone Delivery Group’s initiative to provide testing areas for drones should contact:
Formed in November 2018, the Drone Delivery Group is an industry initiative involving over 300 senior UK drone industry members and a growing number of international observers.