The Future of Civilian Drones

Presently, the drone community in the US – investors, makers, hobbyists, drone advocates with commercial interests – have all been given a 60-day comment period to respond to the FAA’s proposed new drone regulations.

For now, mosly only recreational drones are given free rein to fly, as long as they stay within the limits set by the agency, and commercial drones are still generally grounded. Even the proposed new rules are found to be overly restrictive even though their huge potential economic benefits are acknowledged.

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Thus, one might ask whether civilian drones are just a fad or here to stay. Does the future indeed look bright for small unmanned aircraft systems (“sUASs”)?

One article published early in the year by The Guardian reported that according to the US Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), an umbrella group which connects 2,000 tech companies, they (Drones) are here to stay – a developing global market that will be worth an estimated $1bn by 2018 […] an increase on the prediction for 2015, which is a market estimate of $130m, and 425,000 units sold. Read more here:

More over, it has been noted that even the proposed drone rules are no barriers for drone pilots, such as real estate companies with drone photography services. A report by Bloomberg says thousands of drones flown without government approval by real estate companies, movie studios and other businesses are getting coverage by insurers writing their own safety rules to fill a void left by regulators. One insurance broker in Colorado has already written policies on 2,600 drones, and a San Francisco-based company said it has assembled an Uber-like list of 1,000 trained operators businesses can hire to do the flying for them. Read more here:

As the saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Have drones, will fly. Generally though, commercial photographers who are into uav aerial photography services are more hopeful this time. For commercial photographers, the proposals are less onerous than the ones originally rumored in a Wall Street Journal article published in the fall and appear to leave the door open to commercial drone photography, provided operators adhere to the FAA’s proposed rules. Still, some applications, like concert or event photography, appear to be ruled out unless the operator is using a “micro” drone (i.e. one weighing under 4.4 pounds). See more at:


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