It hasn’t been an easy process for commercial drones to get FAA approval in the United States. Some industries, such as commercial deliveries, have been waiting patiently. Nonetheless, after finalizing its requirements for Unmanned Aircraft late last year, the FAA has now given the first commercial drones approval.
Last month the FAA announced its rules for Unmanned Aircraft (UA) requiring Remote Identification (Remote ID) of commercial drones. This included the government agency finally bowing down and allowing drones to fly over people and nighttime flights.
“The new rules make way for the further integration of drones into our airspace by addressing safety and security concerns,” said the agency’s administrator, Steve Dickson, of the last month’s decision. “They get us closer to the day when we will more routinely see drone operations, such as the delivery of packages.”
Drone companies have worked with the FAA to set up the requirements and to show the technology they were working with. After a four-year testing program with its Scout line of UA, Boston-based American Robotics has received approval from the FAA. The company has developed automated drone systems meant for rugged environments. It was running up to ten automated missions daily during recent testing.
“Decades worth of promise and projection are finally coming to fruition,” said American Robotics CEO and co-founder Reese Mozer. “We are proud to be the first company to meet the FAA’s comprehensive safety requirements, which had previously restricted the viability of drone use in the commercial sector.”
The Future of Commercial Drones
The FAA approval of the first commercial drones could lead to a great future for many industries. Drones can do so many things that previously weren’t possible. They can go places people can’t and utilize technology in the process.
Commercial drones can capture data for agriculture and environmental sciences. Farmers could use the technology to monitor their crops so that they don’t have to drive out and inspect it all in person. And of course, with online shopping seeing a huge increase in the past year, unmanned drones could change the delivery industry dramatically.
“Our interest in American Robotics’ technology started with the desire to have a drone imagery solution that was reliable, scalable, and executed with minimal human resources,” shared Lance Rupert, director of Agronomy Marketing and Technology at Growmark, Inc.
“This technology, along with the FAA approvals to operate it without humans on the ground, is key to making drones a widespread reality in our industry. This is a game changer,” he added.
American Robotics has its eye on the agriculture market as well, along with energy, infrastructure, and security. Mozer explained that the company could safely begin operating its Scout platform for the benefit of those industries with the FAA approval. He said it would help “unlock the projected $100 billion commercial drone market.”
Read on to learn what happens without regulations, such as when a London airport was forced to suspend flights after drones got too close.