A few days ago the people in Deer Trail, Colorado made national news with a proposed ballot initiative to allow hunting licenses to shoot down flying drones.
Deer Trail would charge $25 for drone hunting licenses, and the town would offer a $100 bounty reward for shooters who bring in debris from an unmanned aircraft from the U.S. government.
This perfectly illustrates the growing paranoia associated with UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) often referred to as drones.
But the good people living in the farming community of Deer Trail have obviously not been paying attention to the positive uses for drones, more specifically, the use of drones in agriculture.
Even though the vast majority of drone use today is government and military, one of the big emerging markets will be agriculture. Several new companies have begun moving into the ag-drone space, but there are a few short-term problems.
Current FAA rules limit their operation to under 400 feet and to steer clear of airports and crowds on the ground. But that will change in a couple years. The U.S. Congress has mandated the FAA incorporate drones into national airspace by Sept. 30, 2015.
Many in this new industry are chomping at the bit to get started. According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicles International, once drones get okayed for the national air space, the first 3 years will produce $13.6 billion in economic activity and 34,000 new manufacturing jobs will get created.
The FAA estimated up to 10,000 drones could be airborne in the U.S. by 2018. Here’s why that number is far too low.