New drone standards are to be unveiled for the first time in Spring 2018 which are expected to lead to strengthened public confidence in safety, security and compliance within an industry which is set to be one of the fastest growth sectors in the world.

The announcement was made at an event at the House of Lords sponsored by Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB, LVO, OBE, DL on behalf of the British Standards Institution (BSI) and Drone Major Group, whose founder and chief executive is chairman of the BSI Committee responsible for Drone Standards.

"BSI is playing a pivotal role in supporting the exciting global future for drones through its work on standards for Unmanned Aircraft Systems,” said BSI chairman Sir David Brown.

“Standards accelerate innovation, boost productivity and enable trade, while promoting safety and consumer protection."

Robert Garbett, in his role as chairman of the BSI Committee on Drone Standards, stated in a speech that "after several years of work and global collaboration, detailed draft standards are expected to reach BSI Committee stage by Spring 2018, following which there will be a period of wider consultation, expected then to lead to adoption shortly thereafter".

"The development and adoption of the first quality and safety standards for the drone industry will make 2018 a pivotal year for an industry which is set to become a global phenomenon,” said Garbett.

“It is the year when British and world standards will be crystallised, energising the industry and enabling it to meet its full potential to the benefit of UK plc, and indeed economies worldwide.

"Drones, empowered by standards that can be trusted and relied upon are the key to many of our economic, transport, security, environmental and productivity challenges of today. They will open up new avenues to innovation that we can only begin to imagine.

"Two years ago drones were forecast to spawn a $100 billion industry by 2020.

“But today the opportunities are perceived to be even greater than this since such projections were based upon available data at that time which predominantly focused on the air industry, and we define the entire drone industry as covering surface, underwater, air, and space.

“If you look at the entire picture the figures are much larger and growing faster than anyone expected.

“If you then forecast the impact of integrating drone technologies across these environments, the figures will take on an ever more exciting dimension."

He went on to say key areas of growth for the drone industry include transport, medicine and agriculture, and that key areas to tackle are growth to happen are education, investment and government regulation.

“We need governments worldwide to stand firmly behind the drone industry to ensure that it is not choked by over regulation,” he said.

“Thankfully something the UK Government has indicated it is keen to avoid... and to work together to find effective ways to promote responsible use, without stifling a great new sector which has the potential to make such an important contribution to the wellbeing of people and businesses throughout the world.

“The potential for the drone industry worldwide is huge, and particularly for the UK economy where the combination of our intellectual capital - our technology, engineering, innovation, governance, and above all, our development and support of high standards - is world class."