WELLINGTON, July 17 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government Wednesday launched its plan to better utilize drones for economic benefits.
Drones are estimated to be worth up to 5.3 billion U.S. dollars to the New Zealand economy, New Zealand Transport Minister Phil Twyford said on Wednesday at the launch of the government's plan for drones.
The plan, known as "Taking Flight: an aviation system for the automated age," sets out New Zealand government's vision for how drones can be better integrated into the current transport system to develop a thriving, innovative and safe sector.
Twyford said drones will deliver economic benefits by doing tasks that are time intensive, expensive, and risky, such as monitoring crops, inspecting power lines and helping with emergency operations.
"New Zealand has an opportunity to be at the forefront of drone technology with sectors like forestry, agriculture, and conservation already harnessing their abilities," said Twyford.
It is understood that there are already over 77,000 drones in use in New Zealand.
However, the government plan has also identified challenges in drone use such as safety and security issues. "Safety is our top transport priority and there are a number of initiatives already underway, including looking at potential updates to the rules for using drones," said Twyford.