VUL survey: Acceptance of drones and air taxis on the rise in Germany

Attitudes towards drones and air taxis in Germany have developed positively since 2019. This was the result of a survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Association (VUL). According to the survey, more than half of the respondents support the use of drones for civilian purposes. And: compared to 2019, more and more people can imagine using air taxis themselves for certain routes.

The results of the survey in detail:

Acceptance of drones for civilian use is on the rise
More than half of the respondents (51 percent) support the use of drones for civilian use. This is seven percentage points more than in 2019. At the same time, scepticism towards drones is falling: 28 percent reject their use. This is a drop of 12 percentage points compared to 2019. Nearly one in three sceptics in 2019 no longer has any doubts three years later. The acceptance of drones is particularly high for use in the field of humanitarian aid (85 percent), in agriculture (77 percent) or even for delivering packages to hard-to-reach areas (72 percent). However, the closer the use is to the everyday life of the respondents, the more likely they are to reject the use of drones, for example the delivery of packages in the big city (48 percent), the delivery of food (49 percent) or the use of drones as toys (51 percent). But: approval increased in almost all application scenarios since 2019.

Scepticism towards drones is decreasing
People in Germany still have reservations about drones. However, scepticism has decreased since 2019. Although 78 percent consider it rather or very likely that privacy will be disturbed. Compared to 2019, however, the fear has dropped by four percentage points. Also down by four percentage points is concern that criminal acts could be a challenge in connection with drones (75 percent). 69 percent still fear collisions or crashes caused by drones. This is six percentage points less than in 2019.

More and more people can imagine using an air taxi themselves
The air taxi as a means of passenger transport has gained considerable approval since 2019: Depending on the type of route, between 39 and 45 percent of respondents can imagine getting into a so-called eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraft). At 45 percent, approval is highest for routes between two cities of up to 200 kilometres (+18 percentage points compared to 2019). In any case, the majority would prefer to use an air taxi piloted by a pilot instead of autonomously. The positive attitude towards air taxis is also reflected in the willingness to pay higher prices for a flight: 50 percent of respondents would be willing to accept higher costs than for a taxi ride, 26 percent would even pay at least twice the price of a taxi.

Reasons for rejection of air taxis
If there is scepticism about air taxis, the main reason given is a lack of sustainability (12 percent). Eleven percent are against air taxis because they believe that it would not solve basic traffic problems. Another eleven percent are against air taxis because the current means of transport are sufficient for them. Nine percent said they knew too little about air taxis to be in favour of them.

Chairman of the VUL Steering Committee Michael Garvens also sees more education as an essential cornerstone for more acceptance of drones and air taxis. "It is positive that the potential uses of drones and air taxis are being perceived by ever broader sections of the population. However, industry and politics still need to explain more how drones and air taxis work and where their greatest potential lies. Drones and air taxis are at the intersection of digitalisation and electrification and represent pioneering aviation trends towards sustainable flying. This requires further support for the industry from policymakers and authorities. A national roadmap, which should continue the Federal Government's action plan "Unmanned Aerial Systems and Innovative Aviation Concepts", would give the topic new strategic importance in order to exploit these potentials for society as a whole. The European Commission is setting a good example here with the creation of a Drone Strategy 2.0."

About the survey

With this survey, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Association (VUL), a joint initiative of the German Air Transport Association (BDL) and the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI), presents an updated edition of the 2019 acceptance survey. The data used is based on an online survey conducted by YouGov Deutschland GmbH, in which 2,055 people participated between 12 and 14 April 2022 and 2078 people between 10 and 12 May 2022. The results were weighted and are representative of the German population aged 18 and over.

The complete VUL acceptance survey can be found here and in our download area.

Source: Press release VUL, 24.06.2022


Association of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles