Drone technology in general is very good for the UK economy and has the potential to increase UK GDP by £42bn (or 2%) by 2030, according to new research from PwC, which estimates there will be more than 76,000 drones in use across UK skies by that year.
More than a third of these (36%) could be utilised by the public sector (including in areas such as defence, health and education). There are significant opportunities for economic gains across all sectors – but the GDP uplift generated by drones is forecast to have the largest impact on the wholesale sector. However, the ability to deliver items faster door-to-door and at a much lower cost will ultimately boost ecommerce, at the expense of the already struggling retail sector.
Drone deliveries are not coming to your front door yet though and for now it is confined to the commercial sector, with DHL using drones to deliver to companies in remote locations around Europe since 2014. But drone delivery programmes are expanding rapidly around Europe. A report earlier this year by Unmanned Airspace, found that the last two years has seen the start of (non-commercial) parcel and post deliveries by drones to remote areas throughout the continent.
In France the postal service will soon start a new drone delivery programme to carry parcels on a set nine-mile route in the south of France, following approval from the French aviation regulatory authority.
In Germany, DHL trialled drone package delivery within a small Bavarian town. Residents dropped off packages to “pack stations,” from which point drones would control the entire shipping process and complete five-mile trips that usually take half an hour during the winter within just eight minutes.