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6 Arguments in Favor of the Commercial Use of Drones

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commercial use of drones
“Flying drone in the field”/ Shutterstock.com

The issue of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) — more commonly known as drones — has been highly disputed in the last year, not only for their military use abroad, but for their future commercial use in the United States. However, despite the legitimate concerns over the use of drones, here are 6 arguments in favor of the commercial use of drones:

1. Drones can revolutionize so many industries, especially agriculture

Drones can be used commercially in a broad number of areas: telecommunications, weather forecast, maritime monitoring, transportation, search and rescue, and oil and gas exploration to name a few. However, one of the industries that would benefit the most from commercial drones would be agriculture. Some consider that 80 percent of the industry’s growth could come from precision farming, where drones could help farmers monitor crops in a more efficient and timely manner.

2. Using drones saves money

One of the reasons drones are likely to become very popular is the fact that they are not expensive. With many commercial drones being worth less than a $1000, they will become the most economically-sound solution in many industries.

In agriculture, for example, $300 UAVs can be used to check for disease and irrigation levels instead of $1,000-per-hour manned aircraft flyovers, according Chris Anderson, co-founder of drone manufacturer, 3D Robotics.

Many public agencies would also benefit from the economic impact of drones. Public entities such as emergency services, coast guard,  and law enforcement could offset budget reductions by using drones instead of the much more expensive helicopters for anything related to aerial monitoring.

3. Drones are more energy efficient

Drones have a much lower energy consumption than most other aerial vehicles. With oil prices rising and increasing efforts to reduce reliance of fossil fuels, drones would be very helpful in achieving this goal.

On May 2, the U.S. Navy  was given its first drone squadron. The video presentation of the drones highlighted how the use of the aerial vehicles fueled with biofuel would further the Navy’s goal of becoming more energy efficient.

4. The drone industry will create jobs

Congress gave the FAA until 2015 to integrate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles into the National Airspace System. Once this is achieved, it is expected that up to 30,000 drones could populate U.S. airspace in the first years. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) projects that the integration of drones would have an $82 billion economic impact between 2015-2025. During this period, the drone industry would create 100,000 jobs.

5. States are passing laws to protect privacy rights

One of the main concerns over the commercial use of drones is their impact on privacy rights. This concern is being addressed by state legislatures around the country as 34 states are currently trying to pass legislation that would restricts the use of drones.

Drones will not be allowed in the national airspace before 2015, which will give states time to create the necessary legal framework.

6. The private sector will also find solutions to privacy concerns

The upcoming introduction of drones in the nation’s airspace has already sparked reactions from private companies to find a system that will protect personal privacy. A startup company in Washington, D.C. is currently working on a device that would recognize the “acoustic signature” of a drone and would alert an individual when one is in their area. If laws are not able to ease concerns over privacy infringment, there will some private initiatives to fill the gap.

 

To discuss the pros and cons of the commercial use of drones in America, join IVN on Thursday, May 9, at 5pmPST/8pm EST for our Tweetchat on drones; follow and use the hashtag #IVNchat 

Join the discussion Please be relevant and respectful.

The Independent Voter Network is dedicated to providing political analysis, unfiltered news, and rational commentary in an effort to elevate the level of our public discourse.


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7 comments
Tristan Cody
Tristan Cody

I will be very honest when I say that drones do not make me feel safe and that I understand there are things - regulations - which could be put in place to ease my concerns. But, this like any other piece of technology, can be a lethal weapon. It can be used to betray the very people who may put their trust in it. That will always be a looming white elephant literally flying over head.

Also, would drones replace any human occupations? To be more frank, cost any one their job by making them inferior to the machine?

Great read and interesting view point,

Tristan Cody.

DanaLo1
DanaLo1

@Tristan Cody and this is why we as the people need to step on these FAA "laws". It gives the gov't with their see what brand your clothes are from 3 miles away missile equipped predator DRONES , or let hobbyists and photographers continue to make movies, with there FPV 600 line resolution 7 inch monitor.(600 line resolution is about as good as your tv your grandparents had.)yes , this is what hobbyists have.... don't be fooled by the "agenda" that is being pushed , go look for yourself at a  hobby site to note one , goto rcgroups.com and do some research to see who we are that they are trying to ban. It will be a huge eye opener for you , and please pass the information along and sign the petitions against the rules and guidelines the gov't/FAA is trying to push. Don't stop with reading this story, dig deeper.You will also see that its less then 1% of ANYONE that's ever used one of these poorly, and the hobbyists and photographers are the ones taking the hit.

John Barton
John Barton

Drones are just like any other piece of technology or tool. In the wrong hands they can be lethal, but in the right hands they can be very productive. The real problem with drones are they are such a new piece of technology, that there are not any good laws and rules in place to protect citizens, and the government does not have a good track record of protecting the rights of citizens.

Alex Gauthier
Alex Gauthier

the key is finding what regulations will prevent well-intentioned people from abusing the technology

Daniel Jenson
Daniel Jenson

And what of the people who aren't well intentioned? Just let them do whatever they want with drones, like they are doing now? If you really think people care that a farmer checks his ear of corn with a drone you are mistaken, but what if after they're done they take a trip across town to the competitions farms and "check things out"? You really think drones aren't going to be used for sabotage, espionage on competition, or commiting crimes where doing something in person would be much too dangerous? Afterall, you can't convict a drone. And good luck prosecuting someone.. since you can't prove it was their $300 piece of junk.

Can't wait to hear the uproar when the average joe blow who is too content and naive to understand modern privacy concerns finally wakes up and realized that within 2 years drones will be making pathed flyovers of over 65% of the residential areas in this country, fully equipped with sound vibration detection recording technology and flirs mapping bodyheat lol.

Chad Peace
Chad Peace

I can think of a few reasons against it. In general, it puts enormous power over our privacy into the hands of private organizations; some may use properly, others are likely to abuse, whatever the "law" is.

Daniel Jenson
Daniel Jenson

Exactly, which is why a lot of people have taken bullet point #6 head on, with drones having started snooping on their private property after the drone explosion in the past 2 years...

Since the government will do nothing, and drones at this time are being used simply for corporate espionage, and to illegally spy on citizens and organizations, the people have to take matters into their own hands.

"6. The private sector will also find solutions to privacy concerns"

It's called a 12guage. Drone makers and users, you have been warned, if you are going to spy on people, they are going to blow your little flying wads of money out of the sky! Happy hunting!