Commercial UAVs legal, but for how long?
A recent ruling from a federal judge indicates that there is no official legally-binding rule against the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, despite the widespread notion that flying them is, in fact, illegal.
A recent ruling from a US federal judge indicates that there is no official legally-binding rule against the commercial use ofunmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, despite the widespread notion that flying them is, in fact, illegal.
In the case, a judge dismissed the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) case against Raphael Pirker, the first person that the FAA has tried to fine for flying a drone commercially, according toVice. The 29-year-old Parker used a UAV to film a commercial at the University of Virginia, but the FAA filed a case against him for flying a drone commercially. He and his lawyer fought the case, saying that the FAA has never officially regulated model aircraft and that its entire basis for making them illegal, a 2007 policy notice, was not legally binding.
The judge dismissed the case after it was deemed that the FAA has never undertaken the required public notices necessary to make it an official law. The FAA is nowappealing this decision of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) administrative law judge to the full NTSB Safety Board because it could "impact the safe operation of the national airspace system and the safety of people and property on the ground."
Will the ruling be reserved? My guess would be yes. Vice suggests that the FAA could potentially move quickly to establish an emergency rule, which definitely seems likely, but in the meantime, companies wishing to utilize UAVs or developers looking to test their products are free to do so. Beyond shooting commercials or using them for military, what else will UAVs be used for?
In short: Plenty. Here are a few examples of current and potential UAV applications:
- Marsupial robotic system enables environmental monitoring of rivers
- Amazon unveils plans for UAV delivery service
- UAVs create 3D model of the Matterhorn
- Thermal imaging UAVs help identify anomalies in solar plants
- UAVs guide students around MIT campus
It won’t stop there, though, to be sure. Could they be used for farming? Gaming? Food delivery? Where else do you see UAVs being used in the future? Let us know in the comment section below, oremail me here.