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The Future of Commercial Drones

With rumors going around about the number of drone pilots exceeding private manned aviators in a few years, U.S. regulators are expecting the number of commercial drones to quadruple over the next few years. The Federal Aviation Administration claims “450,000 such unmanned aerial vehicles will be operating in domestic airspace in 2022, versus today’s roughly 110,000.” The industry is predicted to show tremendous growth despite federal regulations. Commercial drones are said to “sky-rocket” up to 600,000 within the next decade helping many online shopping companies like Amazon grow exponentially within their delivery business. The FAA claims that airborne deliveries are “a lot closer than many of the skeptics think.”

However, delivering packages through the use of commercial drones still has its problems that are currently being resolved by some of the biggest tech giants in the world. Amazon, for example, has been competing with other delivery services to be able to pick up packages of a certain weight class and be able to deliver these items within a 20-mile radius.

The President of one of the largest trade association states, “We face tremendous congestion on the roads, but we have virtually unlimited capacity above us.” This sounds simple, but there are two problems that get in the way. Landing in exact pinpoint locations and flying over heavily populated areas still remain as the top two most difficult challenges. The FAA is working on creating a system of segmentation by region and trying out the possibility of using drones to deliver items.

Despite the FAA’s support with big tech giants like Google and Amazon, one problem we can see in the near future is the congestion of drones used recreationally versus commercially. This could create an issue with regulators and create political unrest around the world as the regulation of recreational drones might be difficult to administer. To sum up, the government is working closely with the FAA to embrace a traditional “air-safety” culture. If commercial drones successfully find their way into business operations, investors will see higher returns on their investment within the aerospace and electronic commerce industry.

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