Having been put to work in agricultural environments and pipeline inspections, unmanned aerial systems are predicted to make an impact in cities across the UK, new data reveals.
In a report, which analysed results from 2,000 adults in the UK, marketing research company OnePoll identified that 25% of the general public expect to see UAVs in city airspaces by 2020, while 50% predict to see drones operating in these airspaces by 2024.
OnePoll also found that 43% agree or strongly agree that projects, such as the Flying High Challenge, a challenge run by Nesta in partnership with Innovate UK to help cities design how drone technology could be used to support their local needs, can help deliver public services.
The report noted that 86% of the public are supportive of drone use for emergency response, with 79% agreeing UAVs would provide police assistance, while 61% acknowledged the environmental conservation advantages.
The OnePoll survey also found that the British public are most trusting of drone use by the police, fire service and health services, while they oppose or strongly oppose use for parcel delivery, passenger transport and leisure activities.
The Flying High Challenge will work with cities to engage with their communities and understand their community’s needs.
Nishita Dewan, Flying High Challenge leader, commented: “Our poll shows considerable support and trust for public services to use drones in their cities to support local needs. There appears to be less support for personal and commercial use of drones.
“While people see national government and regulators taking the lead in how drones are used, we’d like to see local governments and their communities have more of a say in how drone technology and its use develops in their own complex towns and cities.”
The poll shows that more needs to be done nationally and locally to help people shape their view on drone technology and its use. One in three said they don’t have a good understanding of drones and their potential use and more than half don’t have a good understanding of the rules and regulations governing the use of drones in the UK.