The commercial drone industry has been having trouble getting off the ground in the USA. With strict regulations from the FAA, commercial industries are not able to take full advantage of drone technology. As of now, drone operators in the U.S must have the drone in line of sight at all times with no assistance from GPS or cameras. This hinders the effectiveness of this kind of technology because many drones are able to be flown using GPS guidance and an operator is able to control the drones from the comfort of their couch. However, in the UK, drone businesses offering Aerial Mapping Services are flourishing.
Many other countries have already seen the advantage of regulating the commercial drone sector. Their regulations do not impede growth of the emerging industry but instead support the technology. In Europe, many companies have already started using drones to assist business operations, this includes the mining sector. The use of autonomous drones for mining exploration is an application that would greatly benefit the manufacturing industry in particular. These drones will be able to asses mine conditions without the need to put an individual at risk. These kinds of applications are not yet being utilized by US companies because of the need to stay in constant line of site of the drone.
The European equivalent to the FAA, EASA(European Aviation Safety Agency) sees the potential of drone technology and has set fair regularizations in order to support the commercial drone industry. The EASA has categorized drones to help better regulate operations for commercial uses. There is a low risk category which include model planes and other low-energy drones which do not require a license to operate. The higher powered and heavier drones are categorized as regular aircraft and need to abide by the regulations set in place by EASA’s new commercial drone regulation document: Vision 20/20.
Estimates about the commercial drone industry are impressive with an estimated $90 billion in revenue throughout the next five years and an impressive 30 thousand drones will be flying through the sky in 2020. Europe has been turning out some of the most advanced drone systems and with new technology the drones have been becoming safer for the population and also becoming easier to operate. Many countries throughout Europe have benefited greatly from the implementation of drones throughout commercial industries. With the high potential of revenue and increased efficiency of operations it would be beneficial for the USA to set regulations for commercial use.
The FAA is still trying to come up with a set of regulations for the commercial use of drones and they are finally expected to come up with a decision by 2016. There are fears that the FAA regulations will be very strict and not allow for the commercial drone industry to fully take off. Europe has seen the benefits of allowing drones to operate commercially as the rest of the world is lags behind. It is estimated that each day the commercial drone sector is not given clearance to begin operations, the US economy is losing millions. As Europe continues to benefit from the use commercial drones, the US is still struggling to regulate this growing market. The US stands to benefit greatly from a commercial drone industry and it is only a matter of time before we start to benefit from this revolutionary technology.