91% are welcoming of drones near their homes in emergencies – sUAS News – The Business of Drones


Finland’s largest drone survey so far measured the attitudes of Helsinki Metropolitan Area residents. The results indicate that residents are most accepting of drones being used for monitoring and imaging tasks, with 43% having a positive attitude towards the use of drones in emergencies. A new survey has just been launched.

The recent opinion survey received responses from just under 400 adult residents of Helsinki and its neighbouring municipalities, making it the largest drone survey ever conducted in Finland. The survey was carried out as part of the EU-funded AiRMOUR urban air mobility project, which concluded at the end of 2023. 

The results provide insight on the expectations, concerns and attitudes of Helsinki Metropolitan Area residents regarding drones and their familiarity with drones. The survey focused particularly on the use of drones in emergency medical services, transport and emergency situations.

“Surveys help not only the City but also companies to assess what kinds of drone services are worth implementing in Helsinki. Residents’ acceptance of the technology is crucial for successful business,” says Business Helsinki’s Team Manager of Innovation Services Kimmo Heinonen. 

According to a study conducted on Helsinki, the urban air mobility service market in Helsinki will be worth approximately EUR 20–80 million by 2030, so growth is expected.

“In order for this growth to be realised, the needs and concerns of city residents must be taken seriously,” Heinonen continues.

Residents would like clearly outlined areas for drone flying

One of the things examined in the survey was where respondents would most like to see drones. The top responses were office hubs and green areas, such as parks. On the other hand, respondents were also more opposed to drones flying over parks than on routes crossing water areas, for example. 

The percentage of respondents who did want drones to be flown freely anywhere in the city was 59%, with pedestrian centres and residential areas being the areas where residents least wanted to see drones by a clear margin.  

Collisions, data security and privacy are the largest concerns

The majority of the survey respondents, 95%, had seen a drone, and as many as 65% of respondents felt that they knew at least something about drones. Just over half of respondents had a positive or neutral attitude towards drone technology. The most common expectations reported by respondents were that the use of drones would reduce emissions and improve the accessibility of places and people located far away or in difficult-to-reach locations.

Based on the survey, people are most concerned about safety, security and privacy issues when it comes to urban air mobility: 84% of respondents were at least somewhat concerned about increased monitoring as a result of camera drones, whereas 66% had concerns about cyber security, such as hacking. The next biggest perceived risks were the risk of drones colliding and crashing and weakening privacy protection. The percentage of respondents who considered it important for drones to be as safe as currently used aircraft was 85%. 

Drones provide help in emergencies

In recent years, drones have been used to transport goods and food and to support emergency medical services in Helsinki. For example, the AiRMOUR project involved testing the transportation of defibrillators and epipens by drone. Meanwhile, the ongoing CITYAM project involves testing drones in maritime rescue operations. 

Based on the survey, Helsinki Metropolitan Area residents are most approving of the use of drones for photography, video recording, monitoring and maintenance work. Only 7% of respondents considered the use of drones for monitoring to be completely inappropriate.

The percentage of respondents who had a positive attitude towards the use of drones in emergencies was 43%, with as many as 91% being welcoming of drones near their homes in the event of an emergency. More than half of respondents also approved of the use of drones for transporting medical supplies and samples. Furthermore, 69% of respondents were at least slightly interested in the transportation of medical personnel and injured people with drones. 

Don’t agree with the results? A new survey is already in progress!

The results of this survey were collected in 2022 and 2023. This spring, the CITYAM project is holding a new drone survey for Helsinki residents for the purpose of further mapping local attitudes. If you disagree with the results of the previous survey, you can answer the new survey until 26 April 2024 (in Finnish)!

In addition to Helsinki, similar surveys are also being conducted in Hamburg, Stockholm, Tartu, Vilnius and Gdansk. The survey was produced by the Tallinn University of Technology.

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