Update 4/30/14: We contacted DroneCast CEO GauravJit Singh to ask him about the reaction of the FAA and this is what he had to say:
We are done using the word “if” on this site. Every time we hypothesize about a potential use for drones, someone makes it a reality within the week (see our speculation about drones and the Oculus Rift).
Here we have another example of this phenomenon. Earlier this month we discussed the use of privately owned UAVs for banner advertising- actual banners, not the kind that clutter the screen of your phone. This morning, NBC Philadelphia reported on DroneCast, a new drone-based advertising company that launched it first flight on Monday.
DroneCast uses four DJI Phantoms to fly six foot -tall banners for its clients at a rate of $100 a day. So far, the company has signed five shops and restaurants as clients.
The drones fly autonomously; operators simply plot a course on an iPad and watch it fly.
“We have people following it with cars to make sure it’s OK,” DroneCast CEO GauravJit Singh. “But other than that, it’s completely autonomous.”
There are currently no restrictions on drones in Philadelphia, but the police department said they will be deferring to the FAA should the legality of DroneCast’s operation come into question.
Singh says he has plans for expansion into different parts of Philly in the next six months and eventually charter flights in New York and Los Angeles. However, its probably safe to assume the FAA will be trying to shut him down by the end of next week.
Whether or not Sigh complies with their request, remains to be seen. Plenty of other companies have been told to cease operations by the FAA but continued to fly anyway. Texas-based search and rescue group is not only still flying, they have filed a lawsuit on the grounds that the FAA has no jurisdiction over their operations. the company has hired Brendan Schulman to represent them. Schulman recently won a case in the defense of Raphael Pirker, who the FAA fined for the used of his drone in public airspace in Virginia.
The reaction to DroneCast from Philly locals might be mixed but, even when Singh inevitably received the letter from the FAA, there is really nothing that can bring him down.