The Federal Aviation Administration estimates that about 2.5 million drones regularly take flight across the U.S.

But, according to a new report from the FAA, that number could nearly triple to 7 million drones by 2020 — meaning that hobbyist drone sales could dramatically increase from $1.9 million to $4.3 million between now and 2020.  

The FAA’s predictions report also forecast that 2017 will be a defining year with the drone industry as many businesses will decide whether or not to utilize the tech. 

(AP Photo)

Currently, the FAA requires drone operators to obtain certification for business purposes; although, according to Fortune, some businesses and lobbying groups believe this hinders more than helps those interested in investing in drone technology.

So, what will these 7 million drones be doing exactly?

In its report, the FAA estimated that 42 percent of commercial drones will be utilized for industrial inspection, 22 percent in real estate or aerial photography, 19 percent in agriculture, 15 percent in insurance and — perhaps most surprisingly — only 2 percent will be used by the government. 

To date, an estimated 400,000 pilots have registered their craft following the FAA’s 2015 ruling.

Could this significant increase in drone use signal increased airspace requirements to curtail safety concerns?

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