Civilian drones will be ‘common in a decade’ but pilotless passenger planes are still a long way off

(Bring on a new to us acronym CUA’s Civil Unmanned Aircraft ed)

Pilotless civilian aircraft could start to become a common sight in British skies within the next 10 years, it was claimed today.

Scientists say aviation is at a “crossroads” with the development of civilian drones that can safely fly themselves.

Civilian Unmanned Aircraft (CUAs) would first be introduced to carry out jobs such as search and rescue in hazardous conditions, monitoring the weather and environment, checking roads, railways and power lines, forestry and policing.

Robot passenger planes are still a long way off. But other types of civilian drone could be taking to the air in the next decade, according to Lambert Dopping-Hepenstal, director of a £67 million CUA research project.

In this article from The Independent they assert that the UK has a UA industry second to the USA, of course in the civil sphere the UK and Europe are well ahead of the USA as they don’t have a legal UA industry.