Consumer and commercial drones have surged in numbers, with estimates by BI Intelligence suggesting that the global market for civilian aerial drones will be with more than $2bn by 2023.
However, despite buoyant numbers and plenty of pro-drone headlines, key issues around the regulation of drone uses remain. Aviation regulatory bodies around the world are finding themselves suddenly having to regulate a much larger market than ever before, as amateurs and professionals take to the skies with aerial drones.
$98 billion will be spent on drones over the next decade
Most of the concerns focus on privacy, security and safety, as the capability of drones climbs, while their prices decline, making them more accessible to the public. The US Federal Aviation Authority has proposed weight limits of around 24kg for drones, along with flying ceilings and proposals for licensing pilots. Some commercial operators already offer their own pilot certifications in an effort to visibly self-regulate.
As commercial applications of this small-scale flying technology are likely to climb in the coming years - BI Intelligence predicting that 12 per cent of an estimated $98 billion in global spending on drones over the next decade will be for commercial purposes - the challenge facing regulators is finding the balance where the commercial market is controlled, without being stifled.