International Drone Day

This weekend marks celebration of the second International Drone Day! Public perceptions of drones have greatly shifted since last year. A year ago many people were skeptical of drones, even wary, many likely convinced that if you were flying a drone, you were probably spying on somebody. In response to this, the theme of last year’s International Drone Day was “Drones are good.”

Last year International Drone Day was all about showing people the numerous ways in which drones can be and are used for good. And what might these ways be? Well, I’m so glad you asked:

For starters drones can be used to do aerial inspections of areas that it might be dangerous for people to travel to in person, or provide intel in rescue operations. Farmers can use drones to efficiently collect data on their crops. Farmers in Africa have found drones particularly helpful in dealing with elephants. Thanks to a gift from DJI, many farmers who used to have to shoot elephants that trampled their crops can now simply frighten them off with drones, as the elephants are none too fond of the buzzing sound produced by the little machines.

And that’s not all. Drones with thermal cameras are used by firefighters to determine the safest point to enter a burning building. Still other drones have been used to deliver medical supplies to rural areas. Public perception of drones seems to have shifted, and many people are now intrigued by their potential.

So this year, the theme of International Drone Day is a little different, focusing on the policies and laws surrounding the use of drones. The hope is that a unified drone community can shape laws in a way that promotes positive innovation in drone use. At the moment the law prohibits the use of drones for commercial purposes unless one acquires a Section 333 exemption. Acquiring this requires one to have possession of a pilot’s license as well as complete prohibitive amounts of paperwork.

Fortunately the Federal Aviation Administration seems to realize that flying a drone does not require the same skills as flying a traditional aircraft, and the administration is expected to release new rules in June, allowing individuals to use drones for business, sans pilot licenses. Along with this comes the goal of keeping state governments informed about positive drone use so that we don’t find ourselves with state laws that contradict FAA rules. Even so, since drones are a type of aircraft, we’ll likely be hearing of plans for drone air traffic control, to ensure that drone users contribute to the safety of the nation’s air space.

Over the last year, the drone community has continued to grow, not least of all through the internet. Drone websites and drone social media platforms allow drone owners, users, innovators, and even the curious spectators to keep track of all the latest developments in drone technology and policy as well as connect with other people around the world who share their interest in drones. We’ve seen over the past year that drones have the potential to improve efficiency, safety and productivity in many areas, how do you think drones will change the world this year?

Rachel Pullen

  • International Drone Day – May 8, 2016

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