One of the world’s largest consumer drone makers says it’s concerned hobbyists will face tougher restrictions over where they can fly if Amazon and Google get their way in creating dedicated airspace zones for commercial flight.
Currently, both companies face restrictions over operating such a service under Federal Aviation Administration rules that restrict almost all commercial flight, but they are both pushing for the rules to be rewritten as soon as possible.
“Some of the proposals that have come onto the table start capping the amount of airspace that hobby users have,” said Michael Perry, a spokesman for DJI, which makes the popular Phantom drone series that is popular among hobbyists for aerial photography.
Perry was referring to proposals made in late July by Amazon and Google at a drone conference in Moffett Field, California.
Amazon put forward the idea of a high-speed drone zone between 200 and 400 feet altitude that would be solely for drones under automatic control.
Google proposed that all airspace under 500 feet be reserved for drones with transponders that continually broadcast their location and take orders from a computerized air traffic control system.
Both would impose tough new restrictions on hobbyists. The Amazon proposal would cut by more than half the airspace available to them while the Google proposal would all but eliminate manually controlled flight.
“We feel that unfairly penalizes some of the people that actually put forward this technology, that started developing the innovative potential of the technology,” said Perry. “So we hope that any regulations that come on board don’t unfairly penalize the people who made the industry what it is today.”
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