Last month, the FAA released its proposed rules for the commercial use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or, as they are more colloquially, known, drones. Many had feared that the government, under the guise of "safety" would be heavy-handed in its approach to the use of these aerial systems. Prior to the rules announcement, the requirements for legal commercial use of these drones required a commercial pilot's license, a medical evaluation, and hours behind the stick of a real airplane. This prevented many industries from utilising this new technology. I, along with many others, were concerned with the government's ability to look past the draconian laws and see the potential in what companies could do if the shackles were allowed to fall.
Technology has democratized many facets of our lives. Remember when it was hard to get a movie made? Digital cameras and non-linear video editing programs changed that. Anyone can make a movie if they want to now. And distribution used to be difficult too. But sites like YouTube and Vimeo allow small budget films to be seen on as grand a scale as Hollywood blockbusters. The Internet was once a service only for use the military, but once we released it upon the world, look at the wondrous things we can do now that were impossible before. Keeping technology like the use of aerial camera systems from being used by everyone would be a crime against the very nature of technology itself - those that wanted the government to make it hard to use drone technology were concerned only for their pocketbooks and not for the potential that would be squandered by the ruling.
Thankfully, the FAA's proposed rules are nothing short of reasonable. The agency estimates the cost of obtaining a licence to be around $300, something that virtually any business can afford. And the guidelines set for those companies once they are licensed are very well thought out, and completely reasonable as well. You can head to the press release to see the details (link above).
Kudos to the FAA for their foresight and far-thinking proposal. I'm looking very forward to seeing how this technology is used and what masterpieces people can produce with this new technology.