“Integrating drones with existing aviation,” tops the list of concerns and analysis in a National Center for Policy Analysis report released in March.
The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 calls for “full integration” of civilians drones by September 2015. Additionally, the act anticipates “30,000 drones operating by 2020.”
The Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) industry is forecast to expand from $5.9 billion in 2012 to $11.3 billion in 2021. A 2012 UAS competition hosted by DARPA produced more than 140 teams and 3,500 people from 153 countries.
The report also raised the concern of “Potential for Abuse.” Specifically, “The array of drone capabilities creates considerable concern that unmanned technology might be used to circumvent Americans’ constitutional protections,” and concerns of infringing Fourth Amendment rights.
There can be little doubt that UAVs are coming to U.S. airspace in significant numbers. The best we pilots can do is stay informed and engaged in the process.
The report concludes, “With substantial economic growth at stake, proper safeguards must be established to provide protection from overzealous government.”