Today, only government agencies, some public universities, and a handful of private companies hold the few hundred existing FAA permits to fly private drones.
A law signed by President Barack Obama in February 2012 directs the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to throw American airspace wide open to drones by September 30, 2015 and expects to see perhaps 7,500 in the air by 2020.
The FFA And Drones
The main problem is however, how to implement this technology into the private sector. In 2012 when Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which basically puts the FAA in charge of developing a plan for safely integrating unmanned aerial vehicles into domestic airspace by 2015.
The deadline is fast approaching and so far the only information they have released is a report called the Integration of Civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS) Roadmap which basically highlights the issues without any real solutions and says drones will be phased into the skies gradually.
Alright, I get it, the FAA is struggling with a series of “technological, regulatory, and managerial barriers” on how to integrate drones into the national airspace and at the moment it remains unclear when the FAA will start [unmanned aircraft systems] integration for commercial purposes.
“The agency will not meet the September 2015 deadline for safe (drone) integration and it is uncertain when this will be achieved,” Calvin Scovel III, the Transportation Department’s inspector general, told the House Transportation subcommittee on aviation.”
Safely introducing drones into the domestic airspace is, in itself, a daunting task, The FAA doesn’t have the resources or manpower to enforce existing rules on a new form of flying that isn’t tied to airports and requires so little training almost anyone can do it.
The Need For New Regulations
Currently the FAA’s drone standards are vague when it comes to UAVs, they basically say it’s ok for a hobbyist to operate a UAV or drone so long as they stay under 400 feet, do not fly around airports, keep visual site of the aircraft and accept no payment for services, but these guidelines have led to an explosion of users pushing the envelope. Meaning some business operators are trying to use the hobbyist exemption to operate commercial businesses.
Based on this alone, we need laws in place now, that will require you to have proper training, license and insurance to operate legally for commercial purposes just like any other business and get the ball rolling.
Experts predict that 30,000 unmanned aerial vehicles may be flying around in a couple years—they’ll be owned by journalists, police departments, disaster rescue teams, scientists, real estate agents, and private citizens.
So right now, while the FAA and our government is sitting on its hands, instead of putting pin to paper and establishing some simple guidelines as a start to open the door, around the world and in america people are starting small companies that are going to turn into big Businesses and that’s who we’re going to have to compete against down the road.
Sure, there are still a lot of questions, but it seems to me the FAA can put some very basic guidelines into effect right now in regard to drones under a certain category for instance, those used for farming should be designated as such, seeing how that’s predicted to be a large part of the market and as far as the hobbyist, the rules are already pretty much in place just add a size limit.
The Privacy Issue
Even with a laundry list of benefits the main problem people have is concerns about privacy, with drones becoming a common sight in U.S. Skies and because Drones can be equipped with cameras and other technology that may have the ability to intercept communications or even monitor our cell phones enabling them to gather much more information on us than ever before possible.
I know your saying “I don’t want the government spying on me” well I hate to break it to you but if anybody wants to know anything about you, they use the same technology you are using right now, if your scared someone is going to peak in your window or take a picture without your consent close your blinds and don’t go out in public because everyone is snapping away without regards to who’s in the background. If you’re trying to stay on the down low about some of your conduct and unruly activities, then I suggest you clean up your act at least in public.
You know, there was a time people thought mobile phones with cameras was a bad idea too, and the pervs have proved them right to some degree, but that has not become a reason for the majority of us not to use and have this technology. Just a thought, you make up your own mind.
The Next Tech Revolution Has Started
Yes, believe it or not the revolution is already well underway. Unfortunately with the current lag of U.S. Policy, America will find itself behind in its ability to implement and manufacture this technology here at home and this will instead move many of these upstart company’s along with their jobs abroad in order to capitalize on the surging market.
The fact is we can’t stop progress, the powers that be are gonna make use of it in someway, all we can do is try to make sure there are good laws and people in place to detour the not so good people.
Mean while, scan the internet and see this technology in action, you can see for yourself, its everywhere, think outside the box. Maybe you might be the one with the great idea on how to use these machines for the greater good of all.
It is not my intention to persuade you one way or the other, but I truly believe we need to lessen Government control of this technology and let entrepreneurs, the real driving force of innovative ideas, figure out the public potential for the developing drone market.