Like it or not commercial drones are coming – fast. On April 21, 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced one of six teams hosting the development, testing, and the decision of drone usage over U.S. skies is operational according to Robertson (2014). Almost two months ahead of schedule, the North Dakota agency is ready for testing.
Other testing sites include Alaska, Nevada, New York, Texas, and Virginia. This means testing will occur across a variety of climates and environments to gather the best results in a short period of time.
Tests are primarily focused on agriculture because of its cheap processing for analyzing fields from an overhead view. Farmers can check crops and prevent issues quicker than in the past. This will quickly grow into commercial surveillance and delivery.
While the primary missions are focused on commercial use, the FAA is capturing safety, maintenance, and radar interference – after all there will be hundreds in the sky after approval. Congress is requiring approval by 2015 (Brown, 2014).
Drone Industry’s Rapid Advancement
In 2013, CEO Jeff Bezos of Amazon announced plans for “octocopter” delivery drones. Order your product and receive it at your doorstep within 30 minutes.
Amazing for at-home shoppers, but there was one small problem. The FAA did not sign-off on the flight plans. Imagine hundreds of drones operating in flight paths of commercial jets and other aircraft – it may very well be a recipe for disaster.
Just like every other great advancement in history, time will reveal – but what do you know about drones? We all know drones have been helping the U.S. fight terrorism, but did you know drones have also helped in emergency situations? There are hundreds of use cases – this is just a scratch at the surface.
I foresee drones advancing into manned vehicles for flight – instead of flying cars – drones.
A drone is an unmanned, remotely operated vehicle. Basically, they are large-scale versions of your favorite remote-controlled car, plane, or airplane.
The Draganflyer X4ES drone is the drone of choice – so far – for testing at the six facilities. This drone comes loaded with a 5mp live camera for video and pictures. The controller is a handheld, video enabled device to control the drone. Easily packed in a backpack, the carbon fiber design is extremely durable.
Like them or not, drones are coming. There are certain to be privacy concerns, flight concerns, and theft concerns, but like every great advancement it is worth the struggle. According to Jeffries (2014), the six-year ban on small drones is over so privacy fanatics should prepare for a larger battle ahead. Leave your comments about the future of drones below.
Brown, A. (March 20, 2014). A quick review of where commercial drones stand. Retrieved from http://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2014/03/quick-review-where-commercial-drones-stand/80890/
Jefferies, A. (March 6, 2014). Judge rules commercial drones are legal, undoing six-year ban. Retrieved from http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/6/5479582/judge-rules-commercial-drones-are-legal-undoing-six-year-ban
Robertson, A. (April 21, 2014). The first commercial drone test site is not operational. Retrieved from http://www.theverge.com/2014/4/21/5636668/faa-certifies-first-test-site-in-north-dakota