Unmanned aircraft industry poised to create 70,000 jobs in next three years

A new study from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) finds that the unmanned aircraft industry is poised to create more than 70,000 new jobs in the first three years following the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into U.S. national airspace system.

Integration is scheduled to take place in 2015. Beyond the first three years, the study projects that more than 100,000 new jobs will be created by 2025.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for an industry developing technology that will benefit society, as well as the economy,” said Michael Toscano, president & CEO of AUVSI. “In recent years, unmanned aircraft technology has grown remarkably and is already proving useful in a range of domestic applications. Integrating UAS into the national airspace will lead to new and expanded uses, which means the creation of quality, high-paying American jobs.”

The study finds:

  • In the first three years following integration into the NAS, more than 70,000 new jobs will be created.
  • In the first three years following integration, the total economic impact is projected to surpass $13.6 billion and will grow for the foreseeable future, cumulating in more than $82.1 billion in impact between 2015 and 2025. Economic impact includes the money that flows to manufacturers and suppliers from the sale of new products, as well as the taxes and money that flow into communities and support the local businesses.
  • The study projects integration will lead to 103,776 new jobs nationally by 2025. Many of these jobs are portable and will gravitate toward states with favorable regulatory structures and infrastructure. Future events – such as the establishment of FAA Test Sites – will ultimately determine where many of these new jobs will flow.
  • Additional economic benefit will be seen through tax revenue to the states, which will total more than $482 million in the first decade following the integration.
  • Every year that integration is delayed, the United States loses more than $10 billion in potential economic impact. This translates to a loss of $27.6 million per day that UAS are not integrated into the National Airspace System.

The complete study, including state-by-state breakdowns of economic impact projections, is available here.

“While we project more than 100,000 new jobs by 2025, states that create favorable regulatory and business environments for the industry and the technology will likely siphon jobs away from states that do not,” wrote the report’s author, Darryl Jenkins, a past professor at George Washington University and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

Nationally, the precision agriculture industry is expected to be the largest market for UAS technology, the AUVSI study finds. UAS will help farmers monitor crops and distribute pesticides, which could not only help improve efficiency, but also reduce the total amount of pesticides sprayed, saving money and reducing environmental impact.

The public safety sector is another area that will benefit from the potential for UAS technology, according to the report.

The report was commissioned by AUVSI and developed by Jenkins, an aviation industry economist with more than 30 years of experience. He is the author of the Handbook of Airline Economics and previously served as the director of the Aviation Institute at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

For more information: AUVSI.org


  1. Jim Klick says

    I am not concerned about my privacy as much as I am about aluminum raining on me from
    mid-airs between piloted and non-piloted aircraft.
    Did anybody notice the near mid-air between a drone and the Al Italia 777 on approach to
    New York last week?
    The FAA claims that rules prohibit UAV operations above 400 feet and within 3 NM of
    an airport. This one violated both rules. And they have no hope of finding who, how or why.
    I am as sure that Al Kaida will obey these rules as I am that the gang bangers in Chicago
    obey the gun laws.

  2. Michael Dean says

    This is not as wonderful as it might seem. 70,000 jobs? That’s great. But at what cost?

    The “Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International”? What do you think the chances are that this organization has (or, if they haven’t yet… will) hire Washington lobbyists? And what is it lobbyists do? And how do they do that? (Remember… they’ll eventually have over $80 billion to “invest”.) They influence politicians to “create favorable regulatory and business environments for the industry.” So what’s likely to happen to our individual privacy – and, therefore, our liberty – once these lobbyists get in good with our law makers?

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