By Jim Blancet
Earlier this year, the FAA officially authorized the first real estate agent to utilize a drone for aerial photography, ostensibly “to enhance academic community awareness” and (more to the point) improve real estate listings. Meanwhile, the FAA also granted permission to a Washington company to use a drone to monitor crops.
Late last year, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos created quite a national stir by hinting around about future drone package delivery plans during a 60 Minutes interview. Without a doubt, 2014 was the year that commercial use of drones took a step into the spotlight, and now the nation’s regulators are reacting with new policies, exceptions, and eventually (one would have to assume) legislation.
The FAA has a tough job as it balances public safety and the complicated national airspace system with the increasing demand for drone space. Film crews want to use them. Owners of large land areas want to use them. Hobbyists and inventors want to use them. Essentially, there is a burgeoning economic sector here beginning to apply pressure.
Of course, merging the airspace demands between already existing aircraft and drone aircraft is necessarily an ongoing relationship to monitor. As demand grows, traffic will increase, and what fails to register as a problem now may become something altogether different at a higher volume. Integrating drones into the mix, though, presents a great number of potential benefits across multiple industries and is sure to be a worthwhile endeavor in the grand scheme.