European drone report calls for immediate action, investment

By Luke Geiver | December 01, 2016

A new report issued by a European Union aerospace entity states drones represent a genuine opportunity which requires immediate EU actions. The SESAR Joint Undertaking, a group formed to develop a modernized air traffic management system for Europe, studied the fiscal and physical impacts unmanned aircraft vehicles could have or are already having in Europe. The 93-page study identified European markets already utilizing sUAS along with others that will soon implement drones at a rapid pace.

“Many of Europe’s Member States have been progressively establishing legislation that extends beyond exemption-based protocols to provide drone operators the opportunity to create local operations,” the study said. The next step for many of the Member States involves adopting a risk-based regulation system instead of a performance system.

According to the SJU report, the European demand and support of a drone marketplace could be $10.6 billion annually by 2035. Civil missions, either for government or commercial businesses, will generate the majority of this value, SJU said.

Because the U.S. and China are investing in and moving quickly to expand their respective presence in the drone industry, SJU recommends the EU move fast to become a major player. The industry needs investment in detect-and-avoid systems, air traffic management, security and cyber reliance, testing environments and other technologies. “As a main finding of the study, and based on the expectations of the market to unlock demand and global competiveness, these improvements need to be completed within a window of opportunity limited to the next 5 to 10 years,” the report said. Investment totals need to be at least $200 million or more in the next 5 to 10 years.

To read the 93-page study, click here.