A study released today flags 2036 as the year unmanned aerial systems (UAS, or “drones”) will have grown to represent a $30 billion industry. The Aerospace Industries Association, in partnership with market intelligence specialist Avascent, compiled the report, “Think Bigger: Large Unmanned Systems and the Next Major Shift in Aviation.” According to the report, cargo and passenger service will represent a large portion of the UAS industry nearly two decades from now, and it will support up to 60,000 jobs in research, manufacturing and service.
AIA president and CEO Eric Fanning warned, “The biggest barrier to growth is the regulatory framework. Global competitors are working to seize the market from the United States, the country that invented this technology. We must start now on certification standards, exports, and spectrum to ensure [the opportunities] stay American.”
Recommendations for maintaining U.S. leadership in this developing market include codifying near-term needs for detect-and-avoid operations, autonomous certification and spectrum allocation; international harmonization of regulations and performance-based consensus standards; and modifications of civilian UAS-related export and trade restrictions.