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8 September 2014 | Will Green
Some 42 per cent of logistics operators believe they will use unmanned drones to ship cargo in the future and most believe it will be within 15 years, according to a survey.
The research was carried out by the National Aeronautical Centre (NAC), which said rising fuel prices and predicted growth in international freight volumes made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) more attractive, as they are expected to have lower fuel requirements than conventional aircraft.
The survey also found more than a third of freight forwarders believed they would be using UAVs.
However, the survey of 60 logistics carriers and freight forwarders found that there were concerns around the ability of UAVs to transport sufficient tonnage to replace marine and air shipping.
Ray Mann, head of the NAC, said: “This research shows that there is identified, tangible demand in the marketplace for UAVs capable of facilitating the transportation of goods with significant tonnage internationally.
“The challenge for those involved in the design, manufacture and testing of UAVs is to leverage this demand to help secure the required resource investment to ensure the delivery of commercially viable applications.”