New FAA Rules Set The Stage for Citywide Drone Services

Do you remember the first time you ever held a cell phone? Whether it was as a child or an adult, when America made the switch to mobile phones, we took our first steps with both excitement and trepidation. We all knew they were a sign of major changes to come, but none of us could really grasp just how much cutting the cord would alter not just our lives, but the entire country.

Flash-forward to today, and our iPhones are more like mobile computers than mobile phones. Sure, they can still take calls, but the possibilities and advancements of the cell phone exploded as more and more customers bought in to the new marvel of the modern era.

The same cautious excitement has met the drone industry today. When consumer and professional drones hit the market five years ago, people only considered them as a means of videography — like a mini helicopter with a camera. But just like the cell phone, drones are already evolving into the game-changing technology of the future.

This is due in part to new FAA restrictions easing their grip on the industry. In a new move called the Unmanned Aerial System Integration Pilot Program, the FAA has set out to test less restrictive regulations with governments and private partners nationwide to better understand and implement drone technology in the future. 

In May, the FAA selected 10 test locations that will serve as ground-zero for incorporating aerial data into our everyday lives. These test sites will test drone use for delivery, data collection, inspection, city use and more as the FAA relaxes limitations for each instance. We’ve covered the complications of drone delivery here before, so who is really set to benefit when drone technology is more universally accepted across the country?

Overwhelmingly, the beneficiaries of increased drone use will be local communities, co-ops, and cities. Communities and neighborhoods small and large alike are already updating their emergency response, public safety, and engineering teams with drone technology, but significant growth is expected to compliment public departments dealing with traffic, missing persons, mosquito spray, infrastructure inspection, crime scene investigation and more. 

But regardless of the possibilities, the real-world results pouring in from drone services today are also having a direct effect on the movement toward further innovation. Even outside of the FAA’s test locations, states are seeing a rush to implement these services now as opposed to later with drone services that already follow the more restrictive FAA guidelines. 

In a recent “Fly-In” for over 100 public safety officials in Syracuse, NY, emergency responders were able to get their hands on aerial technology and perform routine drone tasks that would save time, money, and lives with drones in the future.

In response to the event, New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick Murphy said, “Unmanned Aerial Systems have rapidly become a critical component of emergency response operations, making it essential first responders have the training they need to utilize these devices in the field.” 

With drone services already impacting communities today and city-wide expansion planned for tomorrow, the possibilities for drone services are almost as endless as cell technology once was in the 90’s and 2000’s. But instead of adding gaming or dating apps to your life, drones will add efficiency and intelligence to already existing public services. On the eve of the drone era, only one question remains — how will drones evolve your community? 


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