Drone technology and its use is one of the fastest growing sectors in the global economy. Sales of recreational and commercial drones are expected to grow from a base of $8.5 billion in 2016 to $12 billion by 2021 (41%). Drone-related industries are also expected to grow at similar rates.
AEC, and our project partner Aviation Projects, recently worked with a Queensland local government client that sees the development of a Drones Strategy as a key economic driver for its region. The aim is to be at the forefront of developing a vision and objectives to maximise economic and social benefits.
When considering your own situation and whether you can build a case to attract investment related to the drone industry there are lots of issues that need consideration.
Does your region offer any competitive advantages to attract drone-related business including political and organisational commitment?
Is your location and terrain suitable, offering differing natural environments and urban areas?
Drones and airports are not compatible so need to be effectively separated, so is there greenfield/ brownfield space available for drone-related uses?
Is there an available, trained and motivated workforce with supporting services to accommodate expansion and growth in drone-related activity?
A detailed and pragmatic investment attraction and sector development program will deliver real and tangible outcomes for the local area.
Key focus areas to consider include:
Having consistent and constructive policies supporting recreational and commercial drone operations.
Increasing community awareness about the benefits and use of drones including regulations and privacy rules.
Having the infrastructure needed to drive and support industry growth.
Having appropriate incentivisation, grants and promotion programs in place.
Making sure there is an effective collaboration and advocacy strategy in place to garner broader support.