Currently, apart from military maneuvers, UAVs are legally only supposed to be operated for research purposes and generally by universities in more isolated or secure areas. That will all change once the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sets forth sweeping regulations regarding usage and safety.
Spending in the unmanned systems industry is expected to skyrocket in the next decade to upwards of $95 billion says Matt Konkler, executive director of the National Center for Complex Operations, an entity created by former Gov. Mitch Daniels to promote Indiana’s national security assets. “Not only will it positively affect Indiana’s economy, but it
will also affect the national economy. We are talking about an economic stimulant in billions of dollars – and all the jobs and job creation that goes along with that.” But we have to get there first.
Policymaking and privacy
Ahead of any FAA ruling, a growing number of states are taking it upon themselves to police the use of drones. Illinois passed a first-of-its-kind regulation on individuals; the measure prohibits interference – most likely by animal rights activists – to hunting and fishing. Other states, Indiana among them, now have laws to restrict UAV use by law enforcement for surveillance.
Indiana State Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) calls additional legislation unnecessary and
hopes more won’t be introduced at the Statehouse in 2015. “Last year I went to several seminars about it and heard from prominent speakers who had done a lot of research. I’ve heard from both sides. I don’t think it’s needed,” he declares. “Also why pass some stuff and then have the feds come in and pre-empt it. They control the airspace. If they take forever and we get people out flying these things around, we may have to do something (then). “So I’m in a wait-and-see mode. Let’s optimize this new technology and do the best we can to protect policy, but don’t pile on more law,” Soliday concludes.
He also downplays the general privacy concern. “We have plenty of laws in place that deal with invasion of privacy issues. It doesn’t change whether a guy is sitting in a tree or using his UAV to observe the sunbather in his neighbor’s yard; the law is no different… But, I’m sure a lot of people fear that (for their privacy).”
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