New aviation technology could boost economy and benefit society


A new report from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and PwC shows significant potential benefits to the UK economy by using drones and electric aircraft.

Analysis in the Future Flight Challenge, Socio-economic study (PDF 1.5MB) found that switching to these new technologies could be up to 48 per cent cheaper, deliver faster journey times and improve worker safety when compared to current methods.

To support the widespread and safe use of new aviation technologies, UKRI’s Future Flight Challenge wanted to understand the potential costs and benefits of different applications.

Future Flight Challenge Director, Gary Cutts said: “The analysis carried out by PwC has been vital in providing us with the evidence to help shape our funding decisions across a diverse range of projects. There is great potential to be had from these new aviation technologies and I hope that businesses in the sector will be encouraged by these results.

PwC UK Drones Technical Lead, Craig Roberts added: “The Future Flight Challenge is playing a pivotal role in shaping the future of aviation in the UK. It has been a pleasure to work with their team to deepen our collective understanding of the potential for new aviation technologies.

The analysis suggests that in the majority of use cases there are significant potential benefits associated with the use of drone and air mobility technologies. The overall net cost of the use cases is between 20-48 per cent lower than business as usual.  The two use cases where the cost of the use case is greater than the business as usual are: Rural and Urban air taxis. This is primarily driven by the higher “fare” element of the costs which, in turn, reflects the (assumed) single occupancy rate. Both use cases present time saving benefits and, therefore, have lower time related costs relative to business as usual.