In this article I’m going to explore the possibility of drone technology getting a new life in its commercial applications. The growth of this industry has been held down by prohibitive regulations in most countries around the world.
Recently, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released new regulations. They have triggered excitements in the industries where drones are applicable. I’ll agree with you that drone technology is new. Probably, it’s you first close contact with information on drones. No worry, I’ll be detailed but to the point as I explore the world of drones with you.
It’s important to note that the explosive growth of demand for drones is associated with the reduced drone prices.
There’ve always been rules guiding the operations of drones. You’ll not use them the way you like. For instance, in the US drones can’t be flown beyond 400 feet over the ground. Secondly, the drones should never leave sight of their operators and lastly, all drones weighing between 0.55 to 55 pounds must be registered online.
Major commercial uses of drones
Supporting emergency operations
Used by camera crews during sporting events for shooting TV films, live broadcasts and movies.
Used by realtors to shoot perfect aerial view of the estates they are managing for their customers and for their prospective clients.
Crop management agencies use drones to survey their large scale farms.
The previous rules had imposed great limitations on the use of drones. For instance, FAA required that drone operators be holders of pilot’s license for manned aircraft. Many interested companies would not afford such costs of hiring licensed pilots.
Analysts have already predicted that the new set of rules will open up the industry by spurring competition and lowering the entry barriers. The new rules will become effective on 29th August, 2016. The new part 107 of the rules has been replaced. Now, you don’t need to be a pilot to operate a drone. You’ll simply be subjected to an in-person written test to determine whether you understand how to observe safety during drone operations.
Despite the good rules that have been introduced, there is still a small problem. Drone operators will not be allowed to fly over someone who is not actively involved in the exercise. This will pose a challenge for media houses during unplanned news coverage.
Despite the progress reported, the new rules do not address privacy challenges. How will drone operators interact with people and personal property? This is one of the questions that have not been answered by the new rules.
Commercial companies from around the globe need to take advantage of drone technology. To start with, pipeline companies will find drones essential in carrying out pipeline surveys. Construction industry operators will soon use drones to perform 3D imaging and photography. Finally, media companies will always benefit from use of drones in their news reporting. Using drones to shoot videos brings in a new special dimension to the business.
Drones will help you do more at lower costs. You will not need a helicopter to fly journalists around the city or countryside as you cover events. You’ll get the perfect aerial view using drones.
Who is already making forays in the drones industry?
This drones business has attracted a wide array of players. We’ve seen startups making waves, defense suppliers and huge industrial corporations conducting experiments using drone technology.
Any Progress so far?
The commercial application of drones has seen great efforts by Google and Amazon. Amazon has been dreaming on delivering packages to customers within 30 minutes using drones. It’s now at the advanced stages.
Now, cool people it’s your turn to share with us any progress your country is making with the drones technology! Please let me know the main barriers to entry in industrial applications of drones. I look forward to having a fruitful discussion on the drones business.
Geoffrey Kerosi is a prolific Kenyan writer based in Nairobi City. He holds a Bachelors in Economics and Statistics and is currently pursuing Masters in Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) from Kenyatta University.
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