Opinion Former Article

The IET: Unmanned aircraft are “the next major step for aviation”

Unmanned aircraft (UA) will dominate the future of aviation as long as the appropriate frameworks and technologies are developed, according to new research from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

The new Sector Insight document, entitled ‘Unmanned Aircraft: A future without pilots?’ explores the uses of UA and the challenges that must be overcome for UA to be a success.

Paula-Marie Brown, IET Head of Sector for Transport, said: “A whole range of sectors can benefit from the advancements of UA, from infrastructure development to police and law enforcement, agricultural and environmental monitoring to disaster support. One of the key challenges for engineers now is how best to utilise UA within these applications.

“Not many people realise the good things that unmanned aircraft can do. They were used to survey the Fukushima nuclear power station site and to search for
survivors after Hurricane Katrina. Further development of UA technology could see huge developments in the way global problems are solved.”

The IET document goes on to outline the social, legal and ethical issues surrounding unmanned aircraft. Privacy is the key concern and the IET call for a regulation and legislation framework to oversee this.

The ‘Unmanned Aircraft: A future without pilots?’ Sector Insight publication is the first in a series exploring autonomous transport systems with works on road, rail and maritime perspectives to follow.


Notes to editors:

  • Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespersons.
  • The IET is leading the development of an international engineering and technology community, sharing and advancing knowledge to enhance people’s lives. The IET is the Professional Home for Life® for engineers and technicians, and a trusted source of Essential Engineering Intelligence®.
  • For more information, visit www.theiet.org
  • Follow the IET on Twitter.

Media enquiries to:

Katie Stanton
Communications Executive
The Institution of Engineering and Technology


T: +44 (0)1438 765608
M: +44 (0)7738 713867

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