Tuesday, February 17, 2015

FAA rules might allow thousands of business drones

The FAA has recently drafted new regulations on drone flight that could allow thousands of companies to fly drones for commercial purposes, like information collection. Businesses would only be allowed to fly the drones during daylight hours and keep the drones withing eyesight of the operator or observers on the ground, however. In order to avoid dangerous collisions, they would also be required to stay below 500 feet in altitude, but the process of becoming eligible to fly a drone would be relatively easy. Operators would not need a regular pilot's license, and would essentially just need to pass a proficiency test and pay a few hundred dollars worth of fees. 

 The concept of drone traffic presents a whole new area requiring government regulation and presents us with a countless questions about how to control the responsible usage of drones. It's already difficult to police the skies now that people own hobby drones, especially since they may not show up on radar and are controlled by remote, compared to traditional automobile traffic where the law-breaker himself is physically in the car.

Questions: 
How good do you think FAA regulations will be at continuing to provide citizens with safety and privacy with the introduction of widespread commercial drone flight? Do the economic benefits outweigh the potential costs? All federal agencies would have to disclose information about their drone flights within the United States; should we still be worried about how information collected by drones could be used?  Can you think of possible Constitutional/legal questions that could arise from this new field of  regulations (e.g. commerce clause, questions of accountability, jurisdiction, privacy)?

1 comment:

Miranda Brinkley said...

I don't know all that much about drones and their operations, but I feel like allowing drones to become a common occurence would be a very controversial move, especially to those who value their privacy. It's easy to understand where they are coming from, when a drone is an easy way to gather information and/or watch someone, although the necessity of the pilot to be within sight is an intersting regulation on this practice.
Additionally, if people are allowed to own hobby drones, I don't see lack of license as a problem because if individuals are allowed to own them indiscriminately (as far as I know) there shouldn't be any specific specifications for a business that wants to acquire one.