The value of the transport (cargo) drone market is today estimated to 11 billion US dollars and it is estimated that this industry will triple in the next six years. PwC consulting estimates that from 2030, in Great Britain only, the number of drones of various purpose will be more than 76,000 and that the British economy, by using drones, will save 16 billion pounds annually. Economic effects when it comes to pilotless technologies are primarily observed in terms of productivity, which increases by means of a reduction in costs. Apart from the above-mentioned economic benefits, there are other numerous benefits of using drones such as: increasing security in general, reducing risks, enhancing quality and allowing human resources occupied with routine tasks more free time.
The word “drone” is the term denoting a vehicle with a certain degree of autonomy in operating, regardless of it being an aerial vehicle, a vessel or a road vehicle. In the context of the present article, the term is used to denote pilotless vehicles commanded from the ground but also those with a completely autonomous operating system which does not require human intervention. As listing all the potential functions pilotless technology could perform is a complex task, drones can also be observed as multifunctional flying platforms of great possibilities that are developing on a daily basis as technology develops.
Not such a long time ago, the term “drone” was used for complex military aerial vehicles (that were talked about as if covered by a veil of mystery, e.g. The Predator) used for the first time by American air forces in Afghanistan in 2002. A decade later, numerous renowned companies such as Amazon, UPS and Google invest in pilotless delivery aerial vehicles, whereas other companies, such as Zipline, already successfully deliver medication to isolated parts of Rwanda, Switzerland and Bhutan.
Delivery drones will be an everyday phenomenon in the next decade. It has already been mentioned that great commerce platforms have been investing a great number of resources in order to make the existing technological solutions more efficient and more cost-efficient and in order to increase end-customer satisfaction.
It is also expected the next decade will be marked by technological development and its alignment with legislation, as well as an acceptance of pilotless aerial vehicles in the society, which is one of the pre-requirements for using this young industry to its full potential. By means of developing pilotless transport aerial vehicles, it is possible to ensure a faster, more flexible and more cost-efficient delivery of mail, but also a greater freedom since the sender is not necessarily bound to using services by some of the transport companies.
It is quite logical to expect that the great expansion of pilotless aerial vehicles will be reflected on the labor market as well. The changes in productivity and demands will initiate launching of new job positions and occupations as such. There will be a great demand for human resources ready to creatively act on developing ways to integrate the application of drones, new employees into production, development and monitoring. It is estimated that the pilotless aerial vehicles industry will employ more than 600,000 people by 2030. In the period ahead, it will be necessary to develop new skills and knowledges, which will be a unique challenge for those companies that decide to integrate aerial vehicles into their regular operations.
The race to develop pilotless aerial vehicles may be rightfully called “the space race” of our time. Unlike the historically well-known race of the two super-powers (the USA and USSR) to reach the Moon in the 1960s, the right to participate in the drone race is, generally speaking, available to everyone. The huge positive economic-security benefits that do not wait for only the winners at the finish line of the race but for the numerous participants as well may be said to justify the participation fee in this revolutionary endeavor.