As he notes, businesses large and small are innovating and finding creative applications of drone technology that have both economic and social benefit. These range from efficient crop spraying to damage assessments resulting from natural disasters. Part 107 has helped enormously. Wynne states that prior to Part 107 there were 55,000 pilots who had asked the FAA for permission to fly. Now with the new regulatory framework in place, 85,000 are registered to fly. The waiver process also permits pilots who receive the approval to fly at night and operate multiple drones.
Wynne cites the demand for the waivers as proof of pent up demand and an indicator that “we are at the dawn of a new American renaissance in aviation and technology, one that deserves government attention and support to help it reach its full potential.”
It’s time that the U.S. government sets out rules for expanded operations of unmanned aircraft systems, such as those already being conducted safely with waivers. Once drones are further integrated into the national airspace, America stands to reap the benefits. In fact, my organization, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International forecasts that the industry will create more than 100,000 jobs and over $82 billion in economic impact. Under an expanded regulatory environment, there’s no question these numbers will go even higher.
We agree. You can find the complete Mr. Wynne’s commentary here.
*AUVSI is the largest trade association for the unmanned systems and robotics industry, including drones.