The Second Global Green Flight Revolution

Drones for Green Skies
Photo by Jonathan Lampel

Another Revolution in Unmanned Flight

In the last few weeks, the government released a pot of money to ‘propel growth and greener skies’ with a new aerospace innovation. The ‘Global Green Flight Revolution’ – as it’s being called, reminds me of some of the conversations we were all having about seven years ago when commercial drones really took off. ‘Scuse the pun.

Anyway, I was intrigued by this so I dug into it a little. The Green Skies Initiative that underpins the ‘Green Flight Revolution’ encompasses solar powered and hydrogen powered aircraft, ultra-efficient winged aircraft development and medical treatment-carrying drones – among other low carbon aerospace innovations. You can read more about it here. It also includes the Skyway project – the fantastic superhighway initiative linking Reading to Oxford, Coventry, Milton Keynes and Cambridge.

According to the Aerospace Technology Institute, this initiative alone will create 81,000 jobs and contribute £97 billion of economic value to the UK. And won’t that be welcome right now. But it made me wonder what impact our commercial drone sector currently has on the UK economic picture, so I dug a little further.

According to PWC, the commercial drone sector as it currently stands (without the Green Skies initiative) will, by 2030, contribute £45bn to the UK economy, create 650,000 jobs in the direct and indirect sectors, and reduce carbon emissions by 2.4m tons – the equivalent of removing 1.7m cars from the roads for a year.

We should probably qualify some of that though; specifically that the jobs figure does not indicate net additional jobs, but mostly jobs where role changes occur as a process of adopting drone technology.

Nonetheless, what an exciting time to be in the commercial unmanned aircraft sector! The growth in the commercial drone industry, coupled with the new Green Skies initiative will undoubtedly deliver new ways of delivering old services to market, and I can’t wait to see how that develops.

We will need to retain focus on public perception if we really want to enable some of these initiatives quickly, particularly with developments in our sector like Drone-in-a-box. This is going to be especially important as and when this technology is used for security monitoring over and above survey and inspection, which is where our interests lie.

As always though, it is down to us as operators to communicate clearly and help get those positive messages over the line if the industry in going to benefit.

It is also down to us to help our clients understand that the drone is simply the tool in helping them gain actionable management information – quickly, safely, and cost-effectively – making their lives easier and their businesses more efficient. This is the transformative bit of what we do.

As PWC points out, simply flying a drone and capturing the data isn’t enough on its own. The information we can deliver has to be fit-for-purpose and integrated with business-as-usual workflows and IT systems. And that will continue to be the case whether we’re flying commercial drones for inspection purposes, content generation purposes, or for last mile delivery.

As commercial operators, we earn our keep when we understand how this economic value from new initiatives can be realised effectively, and, when we share those benefits with our market sectors.

Find out more about what we do here, or give me a shout if you want to chat about your business needs: 01778 560929.