The drone economy could be grounded if operators and regulators alike don’t address pressing concerns over cyber attacks, privacy breaches and reckless pilots, according to a new report by insurers Lloyd’s of London. The British insurance giant’s risk report series survey, “Drones Take Flight,” out Thursday, highlights five issues that could hamper the growth of businesses using unmanned aerial robots for jobs ranging from crop monitoring to parcel deliveries.
Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno are now working on a new, low-altitude traffic management system to keep fast-moving flyers safer as they cruise through increasingly crowded skies. The University is one of a handful of organizations participating in the first phase of the NASA Ames Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management project to enable safer use of low-altitude airspace, of 500 feet and below, where autonomous aerial vehicles, helicopters, gliders and other general aircraft are operating.
The market for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in the United States could top $11.4 billion by 2022 — and technology entrepreneurs in Northern Nevada are well positioned to capture a significant share of that business. The problem? The Federal Aviation Administration, which generated the $11.4 billion estimate, acknowledges that the size of the UAS market depends in large measure on the regulations and legal structures that grow up around the industry. Those structures currently are, to put it mildly, in a state of uncertainty.
Economic development in Nevada has a direct, deliberate, effect on Nevada’s technology industry. Then again, Nevada’s technology industry is having a definite effect on economic development. It’s like the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercials – where the collision of chocolate and peanut butter create a happy symbiosis. In this case, the combination is intentional. Technology is one of the industry sectors pinpointed by economic development authorities. Steps taken to attract technology companies to Nevada have paid off.
Drones, once regarded as only military weapons or hobbyists’ toys, appear poised to become mainstream in the United States and already have become big business in Nevada. Steve Hill, executive director the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, has estimated Nevada’s drone industry could have an economic impact of up to $8 billion annually.
At the Henderson headquarters of Skyworks, a drone company founded by former UNLV students, 88-year-old Selma Bartlett holds up the company’s newest creation, a brightly colored quadcopter called Eedu. “This is the future,” she marvels.
Save the date for NCET’s next Special Event, focused on everything you need to know about equity financing for your startup. Panelists include Doug Erwin, Kathie Priebe, Craig Macy and Kevin Lyon.
Reno has become the choice for many relocating businesses in the last several years. Some, like Tesla, have made headlines across the nation. Others, like Unmanned Aerial Vehicle business Flirtey, have flown largely under the radar. But the thing they have in common is that when they moved hundreds (or thousands) of miles from home, they were forced to reevaluate their supply chain, relocate or find new business and distribution partners, and adapt to the requirements of a new state.
If Nevada is going to compete for aviation services and the emerging, potentially lucrative commercial drone industry, it must be more business-friendly in terms of tax relief surrounding states already offer.