The story came out near the end of the week....basically the FAA is admitting that they think that 7,500 drones will be flying across American skies in five years.
The FAA doesn't really say what the missions will be....other than hinting that the cops will have some of these. Beyond that, they are simply working with a plan on how they'd operate, and avoid hitting planes in the sky. Frankly, they've picked up a 500-pound guerrilla and intend to carefully 'play' with this as much as possible before authorizing the mass of drones.
A guy would sit and ponder at this point. This 7,500-number? What the heck would these drones be doing?
I could understand the University of Auburn owning three, and possibly running them around various of the state to take imagery of farms, cropland, and flooded areas. It'd make some sense.
I could understand some Dallas TV station dumping their chopper, and having a drone for live TV broadcasts....car chases with the cops....and maybe live house fires.
I could understand some governor having a drone just for the purpose of claiming he controls a drone, and it's a state asset. Status...you know.
So we add up all the TV stations, the university requirements, business drones, do-it-yourself-drones-from-the-garage, and such. For me.....I'd be thinking more of 350,000 drones within ten years.
Two engineer guys from Bama....with no aeronautical background...will make up their mind to order a kit, and spend eight weekends putting their toy together. Gus and Marvin will be amazed how simple this was. They will launch it and spend weeks at the images and maneuverability of their drone. Never once did they think about getting registered with the government or such. One day, Marvin suggests putting a mini-rocket on the drone, and fire off the rocket as part of their continuing experiment. The rocket fires, but then accidentally hits some house-trailer and triggers a three-truck alarm in town. Cops arrive at the fire, find the rocket, and start to ask stupid questions. Was this a government rocket? Was this fired as part of a government conspiracy? Who has drones for such things? Marvin and Gus quietly push the drone to the rear of the garage and try to forget about their toy.
The blunt truth is that we are opening up a big mess with drones. Whoever thinks it's really 7,500 drones.....is just guessing wildly. Every TV station, every real mayor, every university, every federal agency....will beg for drones.