i3 - September/October 2019 - 38

Policy

Tamara Lytle

P O L I CY U P DAT E

Drones on the Rise

 A 

lthough drones are expanding both in the number of
owners and the types of uses - and even though
commercial delivery drones are often cited in the news -
pizzas aren't likely to be dropped off by drone any time soon.
A kidney is another story.

As the technology for unmanned aircraft
systems advances, so do the questions
about how best to regulate them to deal
with safety, privacy and other issues.
CTA's Consumer Technology Ownership
and Market Potential Study showed 13%
of U.S. households own a drone - a jump
from 10% last year. And 12% of households plan to buy a drone next year.
Meanwhile, commercial use of drones
is burgeoning. Firefighters use them to
search for people or check out a raging

blaze from above. Since 2015, 268 people have been rescued using drones
according to leading drone maker DJI
Technology Inc. Utility companies
inspect poles with drones while keeping
workers safely on the ground.
Construction companies can analyze a
job site in an hour instead of a week.
Drones even let wildlife biologists count
birds and inspect the tree canopy without the danger (and cost) of flying in a
helicopter. Security and intelligence use

them for surveillance. And surveyors and
farmers get a bird's eye view of vast areas.
And now, drones are delivering
organs for surgeries.
Earlier this year, a Baltimore woman
received a kidney transplant after the
medical team flew the organ about
three miles across town in the first
organ-related drone delivery. That success opens the possibility of organ
donations getting to patients faster,
vastly improving health outcomes.

Safer Drones

Several sites around the country have
been chosen by the FAA for research on
how to expand drone use safely. Wing
Aviation, sister company of Google,
won groundbreaking FAA approval this

Courtesy of Parrot Bebop

Commercial use of
drones is burgeoning.
Firefighters use them to
search for people or
check out a raging
blaze from above.

38

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019

i3_0919_POLICY_Update.indd 38

I T I S I N N O VAT I O N

9/9/19 8:09 PM


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