The new FAA rules (part 107) for the commercial use of drones are now in force.. Let me summarize them for you in a single picture:
The FAA rules (needed) are not only years late, they contain a major flaw.
It's a flaw so large, it's similar to regulating cars with the rules used for horse drawn carriages. You can see this flaw in the rules they are proposing:
- Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only; the unmanned aircraft must remain within VLOS of the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS.
- A person operating a small UAS must either hold a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of a person who does hold a remote pilot certificate (remote pilot in command).
- No person may act as a remote pilot in command or VO for more than one unmanned aircraft operation at one time.
See the flaw yet?
The flaw is that the FAA's commercial drones require a pilot at the controls. A pilot!
The fact is, as a professional pilot, I can tell you categorically that drones don't need a pilot. Not inside the aircraft or on the ground with a controller. They can fly on their own.
You can see this in how they developed. Drones only became a disruptive technology the moment that low cost computer chips exceeded the intellectual capacity of insects in 2011. They didn't become disruptive due improvements in the batteries, motors, and materials used to build them. These new chips make drones smart enough to do everything insects (flies, bees, etc.) do. That means they don't need pilots to:
- Stabilize themselves.
- Take-off, land, and navigate.
- Accomplish complex mission tasks.
As you can see, drones only become truly disruptive when they don't have pilots at all. Yet, the FAA is regulating them in a way that forces drones to have pilots.
Let me put this in terms of work. Drones without pilots make the following things possible (none of which are possible with pilots at the controls):
- Tireless. Accomplish tasks 24x7x365.
- Scalable. Billions of drones can be used at the same time.
- Costless. The cost per minute for drone services would drop to almost nothing.
If these capabilities are unleashed, it's possible to do for drones what the Web/Internet did for networking.
What is needed is a ruleset that makes Dronenet possible, not a system designed for commercial dilettantes.