Commercial Drones Heading to Urban Skies in the US

It’s going to be some time before you will be able to order a family pizza that will get delivered to your house via drone, but small steps are all it takes to make this dream a reality in the near future. Most people would love an opportunity to do just that; order something that would come by drone, but current regulations in the USA don’t allow that.

The good news is that drones are allowed to do some small work, such as checking on cell-phone towers and even wind turbines. Basically, anything that’d involve surveying is allowed. Besides, people mainly use drones for aerial photography or filming so it’s understandable that smaller activities such as these are allowed. Real Estate industry is the perfect example of how to optimally use drones for commercially viable business purposes.

Commercial Drones

Goldman Sachs has revealed that the global market is expected to reach a staggering $13 billion by 2020; which is just two years away. This expected jump in value has already started attracting entrepreneurs and businesspeople that are looking to expand their business into the drone world.
 The downside is that, right now, commercial drones don’t rack in a lot of money for companies using them commercially. Only 15% receive more than $50,000 yearly which isn’t anything special. But, the future is looking bright and the current regulations will change that for the better!


LAANC | What is it?

The first step towards changing the way things work is LAANC. The main issue people had with how the government dealt with commercial drone requests is time. It usually took months and sometimes even a full year to approve or decline a request, and you’d agree that after waiting for such a long time, one would lose interest and hope. It all led up to the point of entrepeneurs flying their drones without permissions which is against the law and can result in hefty fines.

Luckily, LAANC is supposed to drastically reduce wait times to mere seconds. LAANC stands for Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability and is supposed to influence the way the government reacts to commercial drone requests.

With LAANC, you’re able to select the areas you want to fly your drone in and in a couple of seconds get an answer. The one thing you will have to take extra care of is that the altitude limit near runways is zero – and not a foot above. There’s also the federal limit regarding drones that stands at 400 feet.


What kind of future is in front of drones and drone-based regulations?

Even though this might sound like a huge step forward, it’s actually only a small one. Nonetheless, the usefulness of LAANC will contribute to potential legislation changes regarding commercial drones. Right now, you aren’t exactly allowed to use the airspace around airports. With LAANC, over 2,000 square miles of previously unavailable airspace becomes available.

The Federal Aviation Administration is on board and has switched LAANC on in a couple of regions such as Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. The plan is to include over 500 airports across the entire country, through a total of 6 waves. The deadline for complete inclusion is September 13, which is rather soon.

There’s no doubt that LAANC will have a major impact on the drone world. One interesting piece of info regarding LAANC is that it has, to date, processed over 8,500 requests. Companies that focus their business on drones have already seen an increase in revenue and this will just keep improving as time passes.

Maybe our dreams of flying taxis and delivery drones will soon become reality. In any case, the signs are positive and all we have to do now is wait. We have LAANC to thank for that!


Larry Haller