Drone over construction site. video surveillance or industrial inspection.

The use of drones will boost £42 million to the UK economy by 2030, according to new research.

A study by PwC has shown that new drone technology has the potential to increase the UK’s GDP by two percent and employ hundreds of thousands of people.

“Drones have the potential to offer a powerful new perspective for businesses across a variety of industries, delivering both productivity benefits and increased value from the data they collect,” said Elaine Whyte, from PwC.

“I envisage that the advantages of drone technology will be well established within the decade – not only for business purposes but also for helping to protect our society, for example, through being used by the emergency services.

“There is a need for current UK drone regulation to advance to see the estimations in our report become a reality but it’s positive to see the government already taking proactive steps to address this with the draft drones bill.”

The research has predicted annual savings of £16 billion through drone use and long-term will see 628,000 people working in the drone economy.

Last week saw new guidelines for drone use for leisure after pilots reported dozens of near collisions around airports.

PwC said it is important for drones to be seen more than a toy for them to be taken more seriously.

“The immediate focus must be on developing society’s confidence in the technology to help drive acceptance and increase adoption. There is a huge opportunity to help solve some of business and society’s most important problems,” said Whyte.

The use of drones is expected to particularly grow in sectors such as construction, defence and energy.

Last year, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) began testing UAVs designed to deliver small packages in the UK.

“This research demonstrates the significant economic benefits that drone technology can bring to the UK,” said Baroness Sugg, the Aviation Minister.

“This is just the beginning – Government is doing everything possible to harness the huge future potential through our Industrial Strategy and Drones Bill.”