PWC Skies without limits 2.0. | Coptrz

PWC Skies without limits 2.0. Read about the future of commercial drones

Lucy Eccles

9:12 am GMT •

July 22, 2022

Did you know drones could contribute £45bn to the UK’s economy by 2030?

Accountancy giants PwC released a new study this week, ‘Skies without limits 2.0’. This new report predicts that drones could contribute £45bn to the UK’s economy by 2030 and that commercial drones will save businesses £22bn, massively cut carbon emissions, and 650,000 jobs could be associated with an economy that fully adopts drones.

PwC’s Skies without Limits v2.0 estimates that by 2030, assuming ‘best-case’ adoption:

  • Drones could contribute up to £45 billion to the UK economy
  • More than 900,000 drones could operate in the UK’s skies
  • £22 billion in net cost savings could be realised
  • Carbon emissions could be reduced by 2.4 million tons
  • 650,000 jobs could be associated with an economy that fully adopts drones

“New aircraft such as drones present significant opportunities for low carbon local and regional air services. We want to work with industry to drive sustainable technological transformation through regulation and a systems approach to provide new and improved services for users.” Robert Courts Minister for Aviation, Maritime & Security. 

Drones are going to be a huge part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as they are cheaper, safer, faster, and better for the environment.

PwC’s vision is that by 2030 commercial drones will be commonplace in the UK, which safely benefits the economy and wider society. Drones are set to deliver new capabilities, boost productivity all over the UK, and reduce emissions and risk to life, while sharing airspace safely with other users. They will also contribute to improving domestic connectivity and levelling up by providing better services to and from remote or isolated communities.

“This is an exciting time for the UK’s drone sector. PwC’s refreshed forecasts reiterate the enormous potential commercial drones have for public benefit and for cleaner growth and skilled jobs.” Iain Gray, Chair Drone, Industry Action Group

How does the UK plan to capitalise on the drone opportunity? 

The UK drone community has worked with the government to identify priority enablers that will allow the UK to capitalise on the drone opportunity. These include the following:

Investing in state-of-the-art UK technology: The government will continue to support the UK’s dynamic innovators, engineers and technicians driving the essential technology development, testing and integration that will make the UK a leader in drones and advanced robotics.

Regulation that supports safe innovation: The government has committed record levels of funding to the CAA to ensure it has the capability and capacity to support the drone sector and provide guidance in key areas such as BVLOS flight and certified drones.

Mainstreaming drone use in business: Drone sector bodies advise and support businesses to invest in drones with confidence. The Drone Industry Action Group acts as the primary collaborative forum between the government and the drone sector

Supporting drone sector dynamism: The government’s business growth, funding and export support services help ensure the UK is the best place to start, grow and scale-up technology businesses.

2030 skills: Fast growth of the drone sector will be led by the UK’s dynamic entrepreneurs and necessitate a huge boost in the technicians and engineers to build, maintain and operate drone fleets. Meaning the economy will need new skills and change programmes to make the most of potential new data and service solutions, including new CPD programmes.

Communications and connectivity: Mobile network providers are investing in drone growth opportunities and working with Ofcom to develop and implement new spectrum bands, emission limits and equipment standards.

Drones for all: The government, led by CAA, and the sector will continue to work together to inform and support public debate on drone use, ensuring end-users across the economy have the confidence to adopt drones and understand the important role commercial drones can play in our future society.

Since 2016 Coptrz have been helping businesses embed drone technology into their operations and are their 360 proposition of finding the right drone, the right payload with the right training and on-going support and will continue to do so to help businesses make the most of the opportunities with drones.

What is the plan for this massive opportunity?

Looking at this opportunity in the long, medium and short term makes these predictions a lot more realistic. Let’s start with the short-term plan. We expect drones to be the industry standard for inspecting the UK’s buildings, power lines, offshore energy facilities, roads, railways and industrial facilities ensuring they are safe, secure and efficient.

In the medium-term, from 2025 we expect drone delivery services to skyrocket, benefiting both rural and urban communities. With new business models emerging, initially in the public safety sector, high-value goods and remote area services, as well as crop spraying drones for precision agriculture.

In the longer term, we expect drones will be seamlessly integrated within many sectors and more new business models will emerge. PwC forecast that at maximal adoption rates, this could increase UK GDP by £45bn, with some 900,000 drones providing essential services to power our economy.

So, what does this mean?

This means that the UK’s public and private drone sector could deliver a £45bn uplift to GDP by 2030. Showing a massive potential for the drone industry and the positive impact it can have on the UK economy.

PwC’s analysis shows savings can be achieved across all current sectors, and the new sectors that will soon emerge, including drone delivery services.

The largest commercial drone benefits come from:

  • Visual surveys and inspection: drones used in construction, housing, infrastructure, agriculture, and emergency services across the UK.
  • Delivery: helping connect and serve remote communities and building new business models. This is forecast to be worth £10bn to the UK economy by 2030.

In this table, you can see the potential annual cost savings from drone adoption in 2030, in 2021 prices by sector.

Commercial drones have already shown more than their value as they help to inspect and survey the UK’s roads, bridges and waterways, help to keep trains running, and to ensure power lines, wind turbines and oil & gas platforms are safe. As well as supporting critical public services. Coastguards, police and fire & rescue services are all using drones to respond to emergencies safely and swiftly, safeguard vulnerable people and prevent and detect crime.

Over the next 10 years, they are also set to fulfil their promise of bringing deliveries by air, meaning road congestion and carbon emissions will be reduced. Drones are also set to eventually carry humans from places that could be dangerous or inaccessible to emergency services.

This is a fantastic opportunity for the UK and Coptrz are proud to be part of this revolutionary technology.

Getting Started with Drones

If you’re looking to get started with your drone strategy, COPTRZ can help. COPTRZ has helped over 1000 businesses access the benefits of drone technology, providing cheaper, faster and safer operational capability.

By providing you with a complete solution, through best-in-world drones (also known as UAVs), payloadssoftwaretraining and consultancy to deliver the best possible drone strategy for your organisation.

Contact the COPTRZ team today on 0333 271 8933 or email to get started with your drone strategy.


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