This Spring we will see more than just some warmer weather, new drone standards are set to be unveiled, and are expected to lead to strengthened public confidence in safety, security and compliance within an industry which is set to be one of the fastest growth sectors in the world. These standards are set to release the true potential of this industry, which will revolutionise the way we live, and transform business sectors from transport to infrastructure, agriculture to medicine - across air, land, sea and space.
The announcement was made at an event at the House of Lords last night sponsored by Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB, LVO, OBE, DL on behalf of the British Standards Institution (BSI) and Drone Major Group, whose founder and Chief Executive is Chairman of the BSI Committee responsible for Drone Standards.
The event was attended by BSI Chairman Sir David Brown, politicians including Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg, and other senior stakeholders in the drone industry, including manufacturers, users, service providers, economists, academics and media.
Sir David Brown commented: “BSI is playing a pivotal role in supporting the exciting global future for drones through its work on standards for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Standards accelerate innovation, boost productivity and enable trade, while promoting safety and consumer protection.”
Robert Garbett, (pictured below) in his role as Chairman of the BSI Committee on Drone Standards, stated in a speech: "That after several years of work and global collaboration, detailed draft standards are expected to reach BSI Committee stage by Spring 2018, following which there will be a period of wider consultation, expected then to lead to adoption shortly thereafter.”
He commented: “The development and adoption of the first quality and safety standards for the drone industry will make 2018 a pivotal year for an industry which is set to become a global phenomenon. It is the year when British and world standards will be crystallised, energising the industry, and enabling it to meet its full potential to the benefit of UK plc, and indeed economies worldwide.
“Drones, empowered by Standards that can be trusted and relied upon are the key to many of our economic, transport, security, environmental and productivity challenges of today. They will open up new avenues to innovation that we can only begin to imagine!
“Two years ago drones were forecast to spawn a $100bn industry by 2020. But today the opportunities are perceived to be even greater than this since such projections were based upon available data at that time which predominantly focused on the air industry, and we define the entire drone industry as covering surface, underwater, air, and space. If you look at the entire picture the figures are much larger and growing faster than anyone expected. If you then forecast the impact of integrating drone technologies across these environments, the figures will take on an ever more exciting dimension.”
“Looking at our vision for the ‘direction of travel’ for the drone industry, key areas of growth include:
In addition, this transport revolution will allow workers to live further outside the cities, reducing the pressure on housing and spreading wealth to the regions. In this single area alone, the benefits that drones bring are compelling.
In addition, with the recent UK Government announcement that we will have driverless cars on our roads by 2021, this reality is gaining momentum and will have a widespread positive impact on every one of us.
Whether you call them autonomous vehicles, surface drones or unmanned ground vehicles, full adoption of drone technology by the automotive industry will be the revolutionary step that the world is waiting for.
There are of course many challenges ahead, from the levels of intelligence required to make a passenger-carrying drone vehicle safe for use at speed, to the liability in the case of an accident. However the economic and safety arguments for the full adoption of passenger-carrying drone vehicles on our roads are overwhelming.
“There are many other examples from the use of drones in mining when new resources become available which were previously inaccessible; in defence as new technology enables us to meet threats without risking the lives of our soldiers, and in security of everything from oil pipelines to individuals and many more.
“The keys to growth for this exciting young industry are:
“The potential for the drone industry worldwide is huge, and particularly for the UK economy where the combination of our intellectual capital – our technology, engineering, innovation, governance, and above all, our development and support of high standards – is world class.”