The Federal Aviation Administration has released Part 107, a revised version of The Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule. The rule acts as a regulation for drone use and the revised rule has opened the potential for greater drone use within a variety of commercial industries to include assessment, agriculture, construction and real estate.
Although drone use has already been a reality in these industries, small business owners now have a greater chance of using the technology because licensing requirements are less strict and licensing fees less expensive. Prior to the revised Part 107, only individuals with sport or pilot licenses could fly the devices and certification fees for non-pilot exempt operators ran up to $7,000. Now, non-pilots can take certification tests that cost $150. The tests are less intensive and cover basic aeronautical knowledge.
With greater access to drone technology, experts believe that the drone industry is on the cusp of a significant boom. However, in order to truly achieve its potential, the industry requires a diverse set of individuals to create the next set of guidelines and regulations.
Current regulations regarding drone travel distance is one obstacle holding back growth. The visual line of sight (VLOS) is a rule that mandates drone users have the drone in their direct line of sight while in use. This is a severe limitation to drone delivery services and other long-distance flights. Business owners and entrepreneurs would like to see this portion of the rule addressed in later iterations of the current regulations.
Currently, only aviation industry experts and government agencies have a voice in the regulation of drone technology. Business owners, representing both start-ups and established enterprise-level organizations, are not represented and argue that they should be if the industry is going to support a changing economy.