he U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is limiting drones’ potential by failing to come up with clear regulations, industry officials said at Bloomberg’s Next Big Thing Summit.
If the agency was were more responsive to the rise of the flying machines, industries from construction to agriculture could become more efficient, panelists at the event in Sausalito, California, said yesterday.
Drones were just one of several conversations at the conference about the future of technology, where PayPal co-founder Max Levchin also discussed a $45 million fundraising for his payments startup Affirm Inc. and where investors Ron Conway and Chamath Palihapitiya disagreed on how to solve Silicon Valley’s income divide.
The FAA has made policies — though no laws — about drone flying, causing uncertainty in the U.S. as the industry thrives in other countries like France, said Brendan Schulman, a lawyer at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, who has defended drone fliers from FAA fines.
“They are hurting the industry,” Schulman said at the event. “They’ve had the issue of unmanned aircrafts on their agenda since 2000.”
If properly regulated, drones could replace search-and-rescue teams, especially in dangerous areas like ski resorts, or help survey buildings for safety, said Jonathan Downey, chief executive officer of Airware, a San Francisco-based company that makes commercial unmanned drones. The machines are already collecting data from hard-to-reach ocean waters and finding poachers in Africa, he said.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com