With a little more than a week left before the Feb. 19 deadline, more than 325,000 people have already registered their drones with the Federal Aviation Administration. That’s higher than the number of piloted aircraft registered with the agency, which is about 320,000.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said the actual number of drones in use is likely much higher, considering that only one registration is necessary per pilot — and each pilot has an average of 1.5 drones.
The FAA mandated drone pilots to register small unmanned aircraft systems — announced in conjunction with more regulations released in December — in order to reinforce safe operating procedures as well as to make it easier for the FAA to follow up on incidents involving drones and conventional aircraft.
However, the FAA has yet to release guidelines for drones weighing more than 55 pounds and those intended for commercial use — an industry that’s expected to double over the next 10 years.
In 2015, commercial drones had an economic impact of about $1.2 billion dollars, even though the FAA had only granted about 1,000 Section 333 exemptions by August. The case-by-case exemptions are authorized by the FAA in lieu of comprehensive regulations, which are expected by this spring.
Next year, the economic impact of commercial drones is expected to grow to $2.3 billion and reach $5.1 billion by 2025.
Do you think the FAA is acting too slowly to craft commercial drone regulations? Do drones have a place in your industry? Comment below or tweet @MNetKatie.