3D printing company Protolabs has issued a report involving 325 aerospace business leaders from across Europe, which suggests that, post-Covid 19, there will be more investment into the testing of robots and drones.

According to the Horizon Shift data, more than half of companies questioned (53%) believe commercial drone deliveries will be commonplace by 2023, as both the public and private sector seek safe ways to guarantee services while containing the spread of any viruses.

Some 78% of companies questioned from the UK felt convinced that the market for drone represents the sector’s best opportunities for growth in the future, Protolabs said. This figure from the UK was more than that of Italy (75%), France (64%) and Germany (57%).

‘Covid-19 has brought huge disruption to the global economy, with the aerospace sector being among the hardest hit,’ said Bjoern Klaas, MD of Protolabs Europe.

‘However, a crisis can act as a catalyst for further innovation, forcing organisations to seek alternative ways to survive in rapidly changing times. Our report shows that right now within aerospace, the ‘low space’ sector is demonstrating agility in its approach to innovation and there is a real appetite to see it work in the UK.

According to Klaas, UKSA, the Government agency responsible for the UK’s civil space program, has announced a new drive to fund space-enabled technology to strengthen the NHS’s response to Covid-19 with regards to delivering test kits, masks, gowns and goggles.

‘Commercial drone deliveries are the most likely disruptor and this was reinforced across the duration of our study, which was carried out as the Covid-19 pandemic started to take grip,’ said Klass. ‘In just a few weeks, the appetite for this technology increased by 11% to 53%.

‘Depending on legislation and advances in technology, it’s feasible that last mile delivery of products, through drones, could reach up to 30% of citizens across Europe. Furthermore, nearly a third of people feel that urban mobility will be a viable mode of transport in the next three years.

‘There are real opportunities for suppliers to look at ways they can deliver parts that can be used in this transition, whilst exploring material applications that deliver the lightweight savings and optimum performance required.’

This story uses material from Protolabs, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.