Drone flights in Australia could hit 60 million per year by 2043, according to a new report released by Airservices.
The report by Scyne Advisory, Sizing the future drone and advanced air mobility market in Australia, predicts that drone flights will increase by an average of 20 per cent per year for the next 20 years. Australia saw around 1.5 million drone flights in 2023.
Transport and logistics are anticipated to make up 77 per cent of the increase in drone traffic by 2043, with 1.5 million annual drone deliveries of food to Australian households per year.
Companies such as Wing are already making drone deliveries in some areas of the country, with Wing expanding services in Logan, Queensland, last year; currently 120,000 drone deliveries of food and other goods are taking place per annum.
“In the short-term, established players are continuing to invest, creating and entering new markets, while newer companies are poised to move from start up to scale up. Critically, most companies based in Australia are looking to invest and grow their drone fleets by two to five times over the next five years alone,” the report reads.
“Currently, drones are mostly used in the agricultural and mining industries, and for surveying properties. But the future growth of the drone industry in Australia will be driven primarily by transport and logistics.
“Autonomous air transport is continuing to move from science fiction towards reality, and deliveries of food, goods and medical products by drone will become commonplace in the future.”
By 2043, the report also predicts drones will be used for 500,000 crop monitoring flights by farmers, more than 300,000 flights to support frontline police, and 80,000 to support surf lifesaving, every year.
According to Luke Gumley, head of transformation uncrewed services at Airservices, the ATC body is looking to overhaul its air traffic management to better accommodate drones – as well as related technologies like electric air taxis, which are tipped to make one million flights per year, and electric air ambulances, which are expected to transport 100,000 patients per year, by 2043.
“Airservices is partnering with industry to deliver the backbone to a world-leading air traffic management system for drones which will support the safe and efficient integration of all aircraft including drones and air taxis into Australia’s increasingly busy airspace,” he said.
“The Flight Information Management System is being built using innovative digital and automated technologies, cyber resilience, and privacy as core foundations.
“To ensure open and transparent industry engagement, Airservices has drawn together key industry stakeholders to form the Uncrewed Services Advisory Network to enable us to better connect directly with drone and air taxi operators, and the wider aviation industry.”