New research from the PwC has found public perception remains a barrier to drone uptake in the UK.
It found that less than a third of the public, just 31%, feel positive about drones, while more than two thirds are concerned about the use of drones for crime.
This figure is a contrast to the 56% of business leaders who are positive about drones and their benefits, a number which rises to 83% when asking those who already use drones in their business.
The latest research ‘Building trust in drones – the importance of education, accountability and reward’ is based on a survey of the public and business leaders on their attitudes towards drones and drone regulation.
The findings make clear that business sees low public confidence in drone technology as a barrier to business development.
It details how 35% of business leaders believe drones are not being adopted in their industry because of these negative perceptions despite the fact 43% of those surveyed believe their industry would benefit from drone use.
Elaine Whyte, UK drones leader at PwC, commented on the results.
She said: “There are clear disparities in attitudes towards drones between business and the wider public. It is also strikingly clear that the potential of drone technologies is not fully understood. The drone community across industry, government and civil society needs to change the public discourse from one of uncertainties and toys, to one of opportunity and accountability.
“This can be achieved through better education on the wealth of use cases for drones, as well as increasing understanding of regulation and accountability. The public will only trust a new technology if they understand who is regulating and providing oversight.
She added: “At PwC, we completed our first stock count audit last year using drones and our research has found that drones could add an additional £42bn to the UK economy by 2030. To really achieve these positive outcomes the drone community has much to do to educate wider society.”
In conclusion to the report, the PwC outlined how ‘education, accountability and enforcement’ remain key to building trust as underpinning the negative perception of drones is a lack of understanding from both business and the public of drone applications.
Just over half, 53%, of business leaders admitted that there is a lack of understanding of drones in general, so they are not considered for their business.
In terms of accountability and regulation, 70% of the public said they would not feel confident in identifying a drone being misused, again highlighting the uncertainty around drone use.
Responsibility for flying a drone also remains a contentious issue with 96% of the public wanting drone ownership to have a minimum age limit and 77% believing that limit should be 16 or above.
Enforcement is perhaps the only area where business leaders and the public agree, with 85% of business leaders and 83% of the public believing that in the event of a serious drone incident, relevant authorities should be able to take decisive actions, including forcibly removing drones from the sky.