As drone industry grows, a fight looms for control of the sky

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When Jim Komsa launched his aerial photography business in 2013, using airplanes to shoot photos from the sky, he said there were only a handful of competitors in all of New Jersey. Now, there are dozens.

Komsa, the co-owner of Brick-based Shore Aerial Photography, credits one main factor in the growth of his industry: drones.

“The drone industry is booming very rapidly,” he said. “Anybody you talk to, it’s cool to fly a drone, just to get your hands on the controls and fly this thing around.”

Federal regulations allowing hobbyists and businesses to buy drones, led to plunging prices and explosive growth in the industry. There are now more than 1.1 million consumer drones — formally called unmanned aerial systems — in the skies over the U.S., according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Companies are using the technology in everything from utility inspections to movie sets, agriculture, real estate, scientific research and law enforcement.


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