October was a busy and progressive month for the UAS industry in the news. We saw some big headlines around actions we’ve been expecting for months. By all accounts, this is great news. But my excitement remains tepid. A long, arduous and uncertain road lies ahead for all parties involved. We here at DroneHive remain in the “wait and see mode” yet again.
LAANC: The implementation of the on-demand approval of operations within restricted airspace will remove the largest hurdle to a larger volume of work for us all. This is huge. But how long will it take? I’d say anytime in 2018 is a very optimistic projection. For the foreseeable future, we’ll be waiting for our waivers 30-90 days as we have been. I was very pleased to see our client SunPower be the first to receive authorization through the LAANC pilot program.
Trump’s Executive Order: He held up to his promise. More tests will be approved and there will be more jobs and opportunities to support these tests with our existing partners. But what companies are selected and where they occur may not develop a level UAS playing field (similar to LAANC in that regard…). No timeline was given, leaving us in a position to hope for strong data that will prove our aspirational applications are less risky than perceived. The implications of what data we can produce and the bottom-line impact to the volume of real UAS operations nationwide is impossible to predict.
While we are happy about these announcements, my advice is to conduct “business as usual” for now.