Predictions For The 2016 Drone World
” 2015 was a whirlwind year for drones — consumer drone sales hit records, the FAA called for drone registration, and the commercial drone regulation deadline was missed. We saw drones epically (and dangerously) crash, and we also saw epic innovation in the technology, with everything from improved cameras to quads that are easier to fly than ever.
So what can we expect to see in 2016? Here are 4 controversies that will continue to develop, be resolved, or lead to even greater debate in a community that is rapidly innovating:
REGISTRATION: The Federal Aviation Administration in mid-December announced a rule requiring drone owners to register their vehicles by Feb. 19, 2016.
Drone owners will have to register through a website for $5 per drone owner, in line with current FAA requirements for registering an aircraft. To encourage registration, the FAA said it would refund the $5 fee for drones registered in the first 30 days of the site’s availability, through Jan. 20. Registration will cover all of an owner’s drones weighing between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds.
The purpose: The purpose is two-fold: the first is to identify users of drones that go rogue (ie. crash somewhere they aren’t supposed to be and the owner can’t be found). It’s also to force a small amount of education upon users and to symbolically state that drones are tools, not toys.
The controversy: Some have felt that registration is unnecessary, imposing, costly, will just turn into one more dataset to be hacked and won’t achieve anything. The thinking is reckless drone operators won’t actually register, while responsible pilots will, so there is no purpose in going through the hassle of the process.
Others feel that it is not too burdensome, but could go a long way in preventing cases of people who simply don’t know they are near an airport or not to fly over people. It’s a small step in preventing greater harm.
The Drone Girl prediction: Despite some saying that what the FAA is doing is illegal, the process will go on and users will have to register. It likely won’t be enforced 100% in the sense that 99% of drone users will get away with never being registered (cops have other things to enforce), but we will see some cases of operators being prosecuted. “