At this year’s CES, expect to see lots of drones, self-driving cars, virtual reality headsets, Internet-connected homes and appliances and those dazzling ultra-HD TVs. An estimated 1 million drones were sold in 2015, when the Federal Aviation Administration set forth new rules requiring registration by consumers.
“Shooting down drones” is all over the news lately. A Kentucky man used “Number 8 birdshot” to shoot down a multi-rotor over his backyard. A Modesto marksman shot down a drone over his neighbor’s farm. A New Jersey Man hit the news for doing the same thing. The idea that you can “shoot down” drones is so pervasive that Deer Trail, Colorado announced drone hunting licenses in 2014, at least until the FAA weighed in. Though Yosemite Sam would be proud of all this, let’s be clear: shooting down a drone is a federal crime.
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.