Published March 13, 2013
The unmanned aircraft industry could create about 750 new jobs in South Carolina, according to a new economic impact study released Tuesday.
The study, commissioned by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, said the industry is poised to grow rapidly after unmanned aircraft systems are integrated into the national airspace system. Integration is scheduled to take place in 2015.
The study projects that 507 jobs could be created within three years — 2015 to 2017 — after integration, and the total could reach 749 jobs by 2025. This number includes both direct and indirect manufacturing jobs, paying up to $100,000 annually.
Economic impact in the first three years could total $99 million annually and reach $593 million by 2025, the study showed.
The state also could expect to collect nearly $7 million a year in additional taxes.
The most likely user of the unmanned aircraft technology — commonly referred to as drones — would be agriculture industry, the study found. Unmanned aerial vehicles, which are popular with the U.S. military, could help farmers monitor crops and distribute pesticides more efficiently, the study said.
Police and fire agencies also could benefit from the use of unmanned vehicles, the report said.