BAE Industry Consortium: Civilian Drone Market Value Could Hit $400B

A consortium led by the British government and several aerospace companies including BAE Systems predicts the civilian drone market could be worth $400 billion within four years, Reuters reports.

The Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation & Assessment program also estimates the market could be worth up to $62 billion per year worldwide by 2020, according to Chris Wickham’s article.

Lambert Dopping-Hepenstal, a BAE engineering executive and an ASTRAEA project director, told Reuters the technology should be at the right maturity level within three-to-four years.

Wickham writes the consortium believes drones in civilian airspace can help with search and rescue operations and could also check oil pipelines.

Dopping-Hepenstal told Reuters drones will probably be first used in sea rescue searches and for monitoring fishing grounds.

In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration faces a September 2015 deadline to integrate drones into civilian airspace, while the European Commission has set a 2018 goal to do the same.

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