The Future of Drones: Government Regulations, Delivery Services, and More

It’s still quite rare to see a drone flying up over your head, but that could change as advancing technology makes them cheaper and more advanced than ever. What does our future look like with drones in it? While nobody can tell for sure, we can take a guess at how this technology will advance and how society will adapt.

Putting the Regulations on Drones

Whenever a new technology is introduced, people are quick to imagine all the new benefits that technology can provide, as well as the potential nightmares they could cause. Sure enough, with the first commercially-released drones came a small drone panic, with naysayers criticizing them for their abilities to invade privacy and threaten security. Drones, and the way they could be used to cause harm, were even the focus of an episode of “South Park.”

Sure enough, the American government has been quick to issue rules pertaining to these new flying devices. According to the FAA, an operator can fly at a maximum of 100 mph and altitude of 400 feet, never leaving eyesight. Further, operators need to have an FAA-approved license. As drone technology advances, along with the new business opportunities they open up, you can rest assured that the FAA will continue to regulate the industry as it does with other air-based vehicles.

How Businesses Will Use Drones

In 2015, Amazon made headlines where it introduced Amazon Air, its effort in combining the current delivery service with drone technology. At the time, the public could watch a video demonstration of the technology, which was still very much in-the-works. Well, in late 2016, Amazon made headlines once more when it announced that it had completed its first successful commercial drone delivery in Cambridge, U.K. The drone carried a package containing popcorn and an Amazon Fire Stick to a house 13 minutes away.

Naturally, Amazon isn’t the only business that wants to get in on the drone game. Other companies, from Google to UPS to even Dominoes, have dipped their toes into the drone waters. And it’s easy to see why: this could be the future of short-distance delivery. That said, there are still a lot of questions. For instance, how will the FAA regulate commercial deliveries? And what effect will this have on human delivery drivers?

Drone Racing: The Next Big “Sport”?

While much has been made about how drones will make delivery services quicker and hassle-free, there’s also an entertainment aspect to them. Just ask anyone who owns a drone – they’re fun to play with! Accordingly, as advancing technology makes them faster and more nimble, we’re starting to see hobbyists take their fandom to the next, competitive level.

There are already multiple drone racing leagues, which have competed in America, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates. In theory, it sounds pretty cool, but in practice, it seems to be straight out of the future. Drone operators wear a head-mounted display, which streams a first-person video feed of their drone as they maneuver the vehicle through a bright neon track. While it’s too early to say if the sport will really catch on, the sport has even appeared on ESPN. Stranger things have made it to the Olympics!

It’s clear that there’s a lot to be excited about with the future of drones. Whether or not they really kick off, we’ll just have to wait and see. For now, though, it’s a very interesting time to watch this new technology develop.

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