2016 Dawning as Year of the Drone in the Business Sector
NEWS ANALYSIS: The FAA estimates that nearly a million consumer drones will be sold in 2015, and this means increased risk and responsibility for your business.The crash of a commercial drone operated by a television broadcaster during the downhill skiing run by World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, highlights the critical responsibility for businesses that operate drones. The crash in Italy took place directly behind Hirscher during the competition, landing only a few feet behind him. It could easily have hit him. The particular drone in the accident was carrying a television camera covering the competition. While this drone was apparently being operated with the permission of the race organizers, it's not the first drone crash happening during a sporting event. In fact, such crashes seem to be happening frequently and that's one of the reasons the FAA rushed to create a drone registration system. The new drone registration system is aimed at consumers and hobbyists, but the fact that the FAA expects nearly a million drones to enter the national airspace in 2015 will affect your business significantly. There are two reasons for this. First, there's a strong temptation to ignore the registration requirements for commercial drones and simply buy a consumer drone from a big-box store and fly the device. Second, the greatly expanded visibility of drones created by their sheer numbers means that any mistake in using a drone has the potential to have serious consequences.
Just to be clear, registration for commercial drones has been around for a while. Depending on the use, you may need to get clearance from the FAA to operate them, but these days such clearance is routine. In the next month or two, the FAA will create a set of rules for commercial use of drones that will eliminate much of the current red tape.