Jessica Schulz | 03/25/2021
The intended use is decisive
The use of unmanned aviation is growing rapidly in both the civil and commercial sectors. Of course, it doesn’t remain unnoticed – more and more people are coming into contact with the new technology in their private or business lives. Therefore, the legitimate question arises: Will the use of drones be accepted by the population?
The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Association from Berlin commissioned a study on the acceptance of drones in Germany from YouGove at the end of 2019 to get an answer to this question. The survey included n=2,015 participants and can thus be considered representative of the German population aged 18 and over.
Original source: Study on the acceptance of drones in Germany (German Website, Verband Unbemannte Luftfahrt).
The results of the study clearly show that the acceptance of unmanned aviation strongly depends on its intended use. Drones are most likely to be tolerated if their use has little or no impact on people’s everyday lives. However, the greater the proximity to private life, the lower the level of understanding – at least among the German population.
Acceptance of drones by purpose
The chart provides an overview of the areas in which the acceptance of drones is greatest. Relief operations in the event of natural disasters, for example, are seen as positive by the clear majority, namely 87%. The visual inspection of technical facilities, such as wind turbines, is supported by 80%, and the visual inspection of roads, bridges, railways and power lines by 77%. Also the observation of industrial plants and the use in agriculture are accepted by a large part of the respondents with 72 and 68 percent respectively. The delivery of packages or food, on the other hand, is seen as positive by just under a third, and the use as a toy is even rejected by 64% of the participants.
Thus, there is a basic open-mindedness among the population towards the new technology, at least for applications with a sense of purpose and added value. It is clear to see that unmanned aerial systems are accepted by the majority, especially in industrial areas. However, the lower part of the graph shows that the greater the proximity to everyday life, the more likely acceptance is to wane.
Study participants obviously see the greatest risk in the disruption of their privacy: 53% of respondents state that they see this as a risk when using drones. Crime (45%) and terrorist attacks (41%) are also seen as a risk. Last but not least, problems such as accidents due to collisions/crashes or nuisance due to noise are also expressed by the respondents.
Most would like to see clear regulation for the use of drones, not only for the reasons mentioned above. Accordingly, it would also be desirable to inform users about their obligations already at the time of purchase. Although the latter is not regulated by the new EU Drone Regulation, some of the desired protective measures such as compulsory labelling, compulsory insurance, etc. are largely reflected there.
The market potential of drones in Germany is enormous. They are already being used in a wide variety of areas and industries. The drone-based visual inspection of wind turbines, roads and bridges, for example, but also the use in agriculture have grown strongly in recent years. In general, the use of drones in industry is growing steadily and enables enormous cost and time savings. The study clearly shows that this type of drone use is seen as helpful for people and the economy and therefore enjoys great acceptance. This is crucial for companies in particular, but also for the further development of the technology.
This article describes an excerpt of the study. The complete results can be found here: Study on the Acceptance of Drones in Germany (German Website, Verband Unbemannte Luftfahrt).