Drone Industry Highlight: A Look At Regulation and Commercial Use
DRONES IN THE MARKETPLACE
Drones were first introduced as a possible means of delivery in 2013 by Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos. The world took notice, but most of us believed that drones delivering products to customers would be at least five to ten years away.
Drones are already used as delivery options in some cities and are being used commercially in many other ways. These include first-aid transport, tools for police departments, high-quality aerial photography for forensic evaluations, and recording devices for real estate properties, concerts, sporting events, and other significant applications.
As mentioned, tech and eCommerce giants such as Google, Amazon, Walmart, and Facebook have all invested time and money into developing and crafting drone prototypes. Many have begun testing their drones as delivery systems with customers. UPS recently beat out Amazon and Google to become America’s first nationwide drone airline.
INCREASED DRONE REGULATION
With drone industry growth comes a growth in drone regulation, too. There are predictions that 2019 is the year that the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) will execute a requirement for remote identification. This is for all drones that fly in the USA, whether recreational or commercial.
It’s expected this will be combined with a new rule for small drone flights over people, but for now, it’s merely a proposal by the FAA.
So, while a proposed law may be introduced, it’s likely that the implementation will take a fair amount of time. Usually, this can be anywhere from six to nine months.
PUBLIC DISTRUST AND CIVIL LIABILITY
Despite the immense benefits of commercial use in the drone industry, the general public still worries about drones. These concerns revolve around the topics of safety, security, privacy, and public nuisance.
In the U.S., there’s an influential group called the Uniform Law Commission (ULC). The group is working on a planned ‘Tort Law Relating to Drones Act,’ which relates to drones and privacy.
If the states accept the ULC plan, the freedom to fly commercial drones will become a little more complicated. The proposal would establish a new aerial trespass area, allowing property owners the freedom to establish no-fly areas.
At the moment, their proposal draft delves much more in-depth than any existing state or federal law. If accepted, it would create a complex mix of differing state laws that affect commercial operation.
Until then, we can expect to see more local and state laws that strive to protect people’s privacy from drones.
National Drone Safety Awareness Week
The first National Drone Safety Awareness Week takes place November 4-10, 2019. The week-long event will help educate the public by focusing on the latest in safe drone operations.
DRONES AND UAVs FOR FORENSIC EVALUATIONS
Here at Forensic Engineering Technologies, we offer high-definition aerial drone photography, videos, and 3D modeling. This capability can assist with the inspection of sites, vehicles, and other objects. The captured video and images can play a monumental role in communicating findings to a jury or stakeholders in litigation.