Drone industry growth threatened by cyber, human error and privacy concerns

Drone industry growth threatened by cyber, human error and privacy concerns

Drone industry growth threatened by cyber, human error and privacy concerns

The FINANCIAL -- 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.

The drones sector is a dynamic and important component of the global aviation industry, with global expenditure on acquisition expected to double to $91bn in the ten years to 2024. 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 fundamental 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 harmonised across international jurisdictions. In addition, because of the rapid and uneven growth of the drones 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 drones operating in busy airspace.

As a result, insurers are likely to seek greater risk mitigation measures from drone operators. These could include training and accreditation, strengthening cyber security and the completion of privacy impact assessments.

Commenting on the report, Nick Beecroft, Lloyd’s Manager of Emerging Risk & Research, said:

“Drones have significant potential but at the same time they are a controversial emerging technology. 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.”