Forget for a moment the dramatic news clips you’ve seen of Predator drones taking off to bomb battlefields. Yes, they are drones – unmanned vehicles that can fly without human assistance – but they only represent a narrow slice of what drones are all about. There is a huge potential for how private, commercial drone use can change our lives.
When we’re talking about commercial drones, we’re generally talking about a small, GPS-enabled remote control airplanes or helicopters with really advanced autopilot that can handle all aspects of a flight, from takeoff to landing. For such a straightforward idea, it has huge implications that could shake up a number of industries. But American regulators obviously want to make sure that drones can be employed safely.
Consider this quick thought experiment.
It’s some indeterminate amount of time in the future and seeing a commercial drone is as commonplace as seeing a UPS truck today. Farmers use them to more quickly and efficiently dust their crops. Search and rescue missions rely on them to get to vantage points that an unaided human never could. The pizza delivery man is a trained and licensed professional drone pilot who works from home. And all of this happens with the government’s blessing.