To launch our blog we thought we would summarize what we see as the state of the commercial UAS/UAV market in the USA. We know the obvious issues (FAA, etc), what we hope to do is summarize what we have heard from the people trying to make this industry come to life and create UAV jobs.
There are two forces at work. On one side there is the FAA, military UAS/UAV suppliers and AUVSI. On the other side there are the “stealth” operators, the drone law guys and garage based custom UAS/UAV builders. One side appears to be doing everything possible to contain the industry and control who wins and who loses. The other side is looking to grow the industry and is open to a structured path for growth and create UAV jobs. (We will let you decide who is who).
The Not So Obvious
In our talks with various UAS/UAV industry entrepreneurs several common themes are prominent.
· You want to segregate the professionals from the “weekend operators”. You are for rules, regulations and controls that ensure qualified, safe operations.
· You need a voice that represents the small firms and operators to help you engage future customers and AUVSI isn’t doing that for you.
· This is a very geographically fragmented industry. There is very little communication between east coast and west coast industry players. Everyone is so busy trying to make sure they are around for the post FAA rulings they are just focused on their small part of the world.
Observations and Suggestions
As we continue to monitor market conditions several solutions have become evident. We can’t speak as to the ease of implementation but your feedback is welcome.
· Allow commercial operations under AMA (Hobbyist) rules. A vast majority of the inspection and aerial filming operations would take place under these rules. By implementing this as a starting point the FAA would start a real dialogue with the industry and nothing would change in terms of current operating conditions. It would allow for a true test of how to commercialize the UAS/UAV industry with limited risk. There could be additional requirements (insurance, equipment standards etc) that would be welcomed by the industry to ensure safety.
· Associations should focus on the small operators (this is already underway). There are a few associations (we will outline them in a later blog) that are attempting to help the small operator/builder as their representative in the market. At this time they are all too new and while they are gaining members they have yet to provide services (a function of time not effort). As they mature they need to become a voice in the lobbying effort.
The reality is the commercial UAS/UAV industry is operating already in the USA and the sooner the regulators get ahead of the curve the better it will be for all involved.
2014-09-07 18:26:22 | Comments (3)