I was reading this story earlier: “Drones Set Sights on U.S. Skies”
Over recent years the drone market in America has been stifled by very strict legislation, effectively rendering them useless for commercial applications. There have been fears over potential terrorist activity and other surveillance issues that have limited the scope. It looks like new legislation will soon bring the US into line with UK legislation that permits certified operators to work in UK airspace up to a height of 400 feet. The Civil Aviation Authority have put strict legislation into place and are now requiring operators to obtain a qualification by passing two exams as well as producing a detailed operations manual. We welcome this, as it provides a benchmark standard for UAS (unmanned aerial system) operations in the UK. Our new drones will be being put through their paces next month with a view to becoming fully operational in April.
Although surveillance seems to be a logical application of drones, I do feel that it is the most controversial area and actually, in terms of endurance of the systems, not particularly practical with current technology. There are a myriad of other applications that are probably more useful and could certainly give good cost savings to clients as well as lowering company carbon emissions. I’ll blog on carbon emissions tomorrow! Potential uses in agriculture, geographical and environmental surveys, architecture and surveying are huge. As our portfolio expands we will begin to put more examples on our website.
Here is a perfect example of hexacopters being used in geographical survey that will potentially help in future space exploration. I know there will be resistance from members of the public who are worried about the issues of aerial surveillance, but to be honest, I see that as a tiny part of the market with the majority of applications being over non-residential areas with a very clear focus on structures and landscape.
The flight tests continue!