It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s ... a drone? That’s right. The Federal Aviation Administration last month released its most recent set of rules for the commercial use of drones weighing less than 55 pounds, and that means the possibility of receiving pizzas(!), packages, and other commercial goods via drone isn’t too far off.
Now the possibility of receiving our favorite foods via drone is much closer to becoming a reality than it was when Stephen Colbert introduced us to the Tacocopter or when Domino’s tricked us with the idea of pizza-delivery drone DomiCopter.
In fact, technology is improving every day, and these new regulations open the door for increased commercial drone usage. Even companies like Amazon and Google are making plans to use drones for delivery.
But don’t start looking to the sky just yet. The new rules, which were established on June 26 and will become effective in August, include a detailed list of requirements and licensing agreements that must be met before any commercial drone takes flight.
Among the new regulations are limits to where drones can fly and who can operate them. Drones aren’t permitted to fly higher than 400 feet, within 5 miles of an airport, or over people who aren’t involved in the drone’s operation, and drone operators must be licensed and keep their vehicles in sight at all times.
While these safety precautions are important for commercial drone operations, it will be difficult for companies to get their drones “off the ground” and delivering goods and services to you before 2017.
Although the regulations may keep company drones from taking off right away, there’s potential for long-term growth. By expanding the regulations to include commercial drones, the FAA expects commercial drone use to triple by 2020. Further, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International estimates that the rules will generate more than $13 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 70,000 new jobs in the first three years.
Even before the recent FAA ruling, companies in a wide variety of industries obtained waivers to take advantage of drone technology. Industries like construction, tourism, real estate, photography, and agriculture have used drones to carry out tasks like HD aerial video, data collection, and geofencing.
With a drone, any shot is possible. Shots that once would have taken days or weeks to obtain can be shot smoothly and quickly, saving companies time, money, and resources; this allows businesses to better market to their consumers and provide them with unique content that couldn’t be achieved through traditional video platforms.
And with nearly 90 percent of online marketers using video content, the need for engaging video has never been higher — and drones can help companies meet that need.
Take the work of Aerial Mob for example. Aerial Mob is an FAA-certified drone services and aerial cinematography company that has worked with BMW, the Kentucky Derby, Hyundai, and perhaps most notably, Patrón. With Aerial Mob, Patrón paired drones and virtual reality technology to create an experience for its audience unlike any other: the "Art of Patrón Virtual Reality Experience."
In addition to using drones for creative material and data collection, the new rules open the door for companies to find new ways to interact with their consumers. So while drone deliveries may be on the radar, that’s just one of the many possibilities for commercial drone use.
As expected, the use of commercial drones will take the marketing industry to new heights and revolutionize the way we serve our consumers. And as drone technology grows, so will the number of drones owned and utilized by companies around the world. Be sure to keep an eye on this exciting emerging trend: Drones can help businesses of all types take off, and you don’t want to miss out.
I'm an avid storyteller and a right-brained thinker who loves to make people laugh by acting out strange, hypothetical scenarios and writing funny sketches. Amy Poehler is my idol, and I have the same thumbs as Megan Fox.