The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) recently completed a research study on the use of unmanned aircraft system (UAS) technology, predicting there will be 1 million flights per day in the United States by 2020 if the regulatory environment is sufficiently open. The report focused on the economic impact of such activity and was presented recently at the Unmanned Systems 2015 Conference in Atlanta.
“With the right regulatory environment, drones will be safely integrated into our transportation system, displacing noisy trucks, reducing urban traffic, cutting our fuel consumption and carbon emissions,” said Gary Shapiro, CEA’s president and CEO. “This will allow for game-changing innovations such as the quick delivery of life-saving diagnostics and medicine, improvements in crop production and efficiency, and safer work environments for those who inspect and maintain our buildings and bridges.”
The report forecasts a $250-million consumer market by 2018 and an additional $200 million in growth from commercial operators within the same timespan, provided the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) completes its rules for line-of-sight use by commercial operators this year. The market is set to explode to $1 billion if sense-and-avoid technology is mature enough to allow for operation beyond line of sight.
CEA held its first Unmanned Systems Marketplace at its annual International Consumer Electronics Show this year and intends to continue to promote consumer and commercial uses of the technology.
“The United States has a long history of being a technology leader, and we’ve led the world at almost every stage of flight innovation,” said Shapiro. “But we have more work to do on UAS. Realizing these economic gains will require ongoing FAA and industry cooperation as well as a commitment to the necessary infrastructure.”