Urgent medical deliveries from hospital to hospital ... Arriving first to a car crash scene to assess damages... Investigating a burning building... Delivering blood to a hospital over sea to an island... Performing dangerous tasks quickly and safely on a construction site...
We’ve spent the past six months working with five city-regions - Bradford, Preston, London, Southampton and the West Midlands region - to learn what these places would like to see drones do (or not do) in their communities in the future. We worked with the NHS, police and fire services, central government, technology experts, industry leaders, academics and regulators to assess the technical feasibility and social and economic advantages of a use case in each city.
This is what we found:
According to recent research from PwC, drone technology has the potential to increase UK GDP by £42 billion (or two percent) by 2030. If the UK is to seize this opportunity, key technical barriers need to be addressed, but most importantly the public needs to be able to trust that drones will be used for good, safely and securely, and supporting broader public goals around mobility, public services and economic growth.
So what’s next?
We think that designing challenge prizes are key to unlocking these benefits in the UK. Challenge prizes will drive innovation to address technical barriers to drone development, guided by the visions of the cities and desires of the public.
We intend to work with government, regulators and city-led consortia to invite industry to compete to solve these problems by developing, testing and demonstrating their solutions - ultimately in real urban environments - informed by meaningful public engagement.
Read the full report here.