With consumer electronics experts predicting that drone sales will surge 63 percent in 2015, it’s no surprise that demand is keeping pace with supply – even if those demanding them may also want them banned (yes, it’s confusing but read on).
On Monday, the Saint Leo University Polling Institute released the results of an online survey revealing that more than one-third of Americans want to own a drone.
The poll of 1,007 adults revealed that those who were interested in ownership consider a drone “a fun hobby—more advanced than a model airplane.”
In terms of awareness, drones are becoming ubiquitous in the American mindset – 78.4 percent of those surveyed said they were “very or somewhat aware” of unmanned aircraft.
In addition to seeing drones as a fun hobby, respondents also want to see their “property from heights” (32.7 percent); others listed “safety/security interests” as a motive for wanting a UAV (28.3 percent). And, a small but disturbing minority admitted they want a drone to observe their neighbors (11.7 percent).
Along with a desire for ownership, a large number of respondents also have concerns about the rise of the drones. More than 70 percent states they are “somewhat concerned or very concerned” about UAVs (although the poll did not delineate between consumer drones and government unmanned aircraft).
The panoply of fears listed by respondents include the usual suspects – potential crashes with manned aircraft (58 percent – although this fear may prove unfounded), fear of weaponized consumer drones (56 percent), government domestic spying (51 percent) and privacy violations (64 percent).
Although the regulations concerning a property owner’s expectation of privacy is still under debate, respondents want drones away from their homes — 82 percent believe UAVs should not be allowed to film a property owner’s backyard or house.
In an almost schizophrenic response, almost half (47.5 percent) of respondents believe that private citizens should not be allowed to own drones – odd, considering at least 35 percent want a drone.
“It is surprising that so many Americans want to ban private citizens from owning drones, even though more than one-third of survey respondents want to own a drone someday,” St. Leo science professor Leo Ondrovic said.
“Another contributing factor may be that a majority of respondents reported being unaware of altitude restrictions and regulations requiring licensing for videotaping,” he added.
The Consumer Electronics Association expects this to be a defining year for drones – with projected annual unit sales approaching 700,000, a 63 percent increase in just one year.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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