UK public expects drone deliveries to accelerate but drone user registrations fall – new CAA study

The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in this year’s survey of the public’s view of the commercial drone industry has recorded that most people believe the biggest growth areas for commercial drone use is considered to be in deliveries and travel (eVTOL air taxi etc), with the general public expecting both services to continue to grow over the next 20 years. However, the number of drone users registered continues to drop, including those who have registered in the last 12 months.

Awareness of the maximum height restriction for flying a drone has increased among drone users, and is now at the highest level since research started eight years ago but there is less clarity over the requirements for drone tests and registration for drone owners. Motivators for registration would be if the police started issuing fines, as well as if users were granted access to fly in more places.

“The predicted increase in commercial drone use and eVTOL air taxi flying matches what we have seen in previous surveys,” said the CAA. “Although it’s interesting that the public’s views may be driven by what they see or read in the media rather than actual developments. This is particularly the case with drone deliveries. While we see extensive media coverage predicting commercial drone delivery flying, much more of the actual work and demand is currently in other areas, such as using drones for infrastructure inspection.”

Drone registration was first introduced in the UK in 2019. “While the 450,000 active registered users are significantly more then we or others predicted prior to registration, we believe there are still users out there yet to register,” said the UK’s safety regulator.. “We want to help them understand the legal requirement and show them how quick and easy it is to register. On the deterrent angle, the Government has been working on the introduction of fixed penalty notices for some drone misuse with the change expected to be introduced in the near future.”

“On the positive findings, it’s pleasing to see that drone users have a high level of understanding around the 120m / 400ft maximum height restriction for most drone flying. This is a key safety rule to help protect aircraft.”

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