Cyber-attacks, reckless pilots and privacy breaches are fundamental threats to the drone industry, warns a new report published by Lloyd’s, the specialist insurance and reinsurance market.Global expenditures on remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) — also known as drones and unmanned aerial systems — is expected to double to $91 billion in the next 10 years, according to the report.
However, concerns around safety, security and surveillance need to be considered by manufacturers and users of this technology, says Lloyd’s new report, “Drones Take Flight.”
The study highlights five risks that it says could harm the sector’s future growth. Of these, privacy infringement is cited as the biggest most significant concern, as well as the carelessness of drone operators and the vulnerability of the drones themselves to cyber-attacks.
Another key concern highlighted in the report is the regulatory environment, which is developing but is not yet harmonized across international jurisdictions. In addition, because of the rapid and uneven growth of the industry, it is proving difficult for regulators to provide strong rigorous oversight without technological support to track and monitor use.
Effective airspace control and collision avoidance technology, the report contends, will be key requirements for the insurance of RPAs operating in busy airspace.
As a result, insurers are likely to seek greater risk mitigation measures from RPA operators. These could include training and accreditation, strengthening cyber security and the completion of privacy impact assessments.
“Drones have significant potential but at the same time they are a controversial emerging technology,” said Nick Beecroft, Lloyd’s Manager of Emerging Risk & Research. “As the market for drones continues to grow, so does the interaction of risk exposures. Manufacturers, operators and regulators will need to work together, on a global basis, to understand exposures and ensure this technology is used safely and responsibly.”
The full report can be downloaded at Lloyds.com/DronesTakeFlight