Innovation

by Glyn Moody


Filed Under:
drones, faa, personal drones



After The Age Of The PC, Welcome To The Age Of The PD -- The 'Personal Drone'

from the promising-start dept

Techdirt has been following the rise of small, low-cost drones for some years. A major milestone was the release of the FAA's draft rules for the devices, which came out last February. Quartz has just published an interesting report of an FAA conference on the future uses of drones in US airspace, at which the following statistic was quoted:

Federal Aviation Administration director Michael Huerta told the gathered crowd that more than consumer 500,000 drones had been registered with the agency since December.
Quartz provides some context for the figure of half-a-million newly-registered drones:
According to the FAA, it took 100 years for about 320,000 regular aircraft to be registered with US officials -- a feat that drones have surpassed in a matter of months. Granted, even the largest consumer drone is far smaller than the average plane, helicopter or hot-air balloon, but it's an impressive statistic for an agency that has been criticized in the past for moving slowly on regulations that adapt to the growing uses for drones.
As that rightly notes, there's a world of difference between today's small drones -- "consumer" in this context means anything weighing more than 0.5lbs -- and traditional aircraft. But in many ways, it's exactly the same difference between the very first PCs, and the mainframes and minicomputer systems that had existed for decades. In that respect, we can see the 500,000 registered drones as an indication that we are now truly in the age of the PD -- the Personal Drone.

The conference also touched on a key concern raised by Karl Bode last year, who was worried that over-strict regulation of drones might kill off some promising new business models. Quartz reports:

Speakers discussed the potential for drone operations beyond the line of sight in the future. And the FAA is already testing out the feasibility of delivery services like this. Last month it approved a test by the drone delivery service Flirtey and 7-Eleven to deliver some snacks to a household in Arizona.
Combined with the sizable installed base of personal drones just revealed, that's a good sign for the future of the sector if it is to continue tracking the PC industry in terms of rapid growth.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 5 Aug 2016 @ 8:06pm

    Re: Then came personal anti-aircraft systems.

    Then came personal cruise missiles...

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.