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Federal government / Technology

Drones lighting up more than YouTube

As federal regulators begin to require drones to go legit, two reports look at how businesses are using UAVs — and where.

A still from an Elevated Element drone video following the Baltimore riots. (Screenshot via YouTube)

A Sunday report from Ian Duncan in the Baltimore Sun highlights the increasingly drone-crowded skies.
Given last week’s revelation that two suspects were attempting to use a drone to fly contraband into a state prison, it’s a timely look at the Federal Aviation Administration’s moves to regulate the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) preferred by hobbyists and photographers — and what it all means for entrepreneurs who have flown under the radar to this point.
Read the full story
The report also highlights Elevated Element, the Baltimore-area company whose founders Terry and Belinda Kilby have long advocated safety but now face the prospect of getting official documents like a pilot’s license.
We were also intrigued by this report from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International on the first 500 drone exemptions to operate that were handed out by the FAA, which Duncan referenced in the piece.
Read the report
Along with the fact that Maryland received nine out of the first 500 applicants (which is far fewer than California’s 70), the report also provides a breakdown of what industries are being impacted by drones. We’re kind of obsessed with aerial photography for its creative prowess, but industries like real estate, mining, surveying, infrastructure inspection, TV news and even farming are putting drones to work.
“Better data can help farmers accurately prepare resources for harvest and prevent farmers from overstocking or having to leave mature crops in the field,” the report states. “For example, if the projected yield in sugar beets exceeds the processing capacity, growers may have to leave beets in the ground.”

AUVSI

From the AUVSI report.

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