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Arlington, Va. (March 16, 2022) – Today, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and Avascent released a new report detailing the breakthrough growth in the autonomous aircraft market, which is expected to result in nearly $325 billion over the next two decades. The report, “Continuing to Think Bigger: Autonomous Aircraft and the Transformation in Aviation,” explores the next chapter of aviation and its potential to transform daily life while expanding America’s longstanding leadership in global aviation.

“Autonomous aviation has the potential to change life as we know it. From extinguishing forest fires, creating innovative new agriculture applications, or even providing telecom hot spots after a natural disaster, the possibilities are endless,” said Eric Fanning, President and CEO of the AIA. “Government and industry must come together to realize the potential of the autonomous aviation market, unite behind a central plan to make it a reality, and use this opportunity to preserve U.S. leadership in aviation.”

“Avascent is honored to work alongside AIA and explore the myriad of new economic opportunities emerging in the large autonomous aircraft arena. As autonomous aircraft capabilities advance, now is an ideal time for industry and government to continue to lay the foundation for growth,” said Josh Pavluk, Senior Director at Avascent.

Since AIA and Avascent’s first “Think Bigger” report, investments in autonomous aircraft have skyrocketed. Dozens of startup companies have received significant funding for autonomous aircraft and closely related technologies and longstanding aviation companies are investing in the promise of this area. The latest report finds that autonomous aircraft are projected to directly lead to nearly 100,000 jobs by 2040, highlighting there is nothing truly “unmanned” about them.

The report found that spending on autonomous aircraft is poised for dramatic growth over the next two decades. Across passenger, cargo, and industrial use cases the market is expected to total about $325 billion from 2022 to 2040, and expand at a nearly 25 percent compound annual growth rate.

The report identifies three key policy recommendations to continue America’s leadership in global aviation through strategic action and investments:

  • Build a comprehensive national policy and regulatory map that prioritizes U.S. leadership in automation and autonomy in aviation
  • Invest in key infrastructure and technology development areas that accelerate innovation in all of aviation
  • Develop performance-based regulations that facilitate innovation while ensuring safety and security


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