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Have $20,000? Buy Some Wine!

Rebecca Lasica

I just couldn’t resist. I am a regular reader of sUAS News, which I believe to be an excellent source of industry news with up-to-date and relevant stories about current events and project updates within the industry. The image below caught my eye for two reasons. First the obvious – bottle delivery to private parties in Vegas? OK. I guess that’s one UAS application.

Source: http://www.suasnews.com/

But I was specifically drawn to the proximity of the propellers to all those people. Just a few days ago there was a video of a multi-rotor copter crashing in the streets of Italy noting that the nearby pedestrian experienced a “lucky day” considering the proximity of his head to those carbon fiber blades.

Two of the most compelling reasons that are making regulations difficult for the FAA to move forward are privacy and safety. In the case of the Vegas party, to the people using the service, the photo captured of the bottle delivery event makes the list of “Pros”. But in terms of safety and/or potential operator error, it’s difficult to get the crash video out of my mind.

I was able to watch a video from the sUAS Expo last week to see a talk given by Jim Williams of the FAA. He was both upbeat and optimistic and from my understanding of reviews – his message was very well received.  He indicated that the FAA may soon be able to address “pent up demand” for commercial UAS operations for small UAS and even noted that some applications – specifically for Precision Agriculture may actually reduce risk compared to using manned aviation for some operations.

I continue to be amazed at all of the new UAS applications I read and hear about that would probably not ever have crossed my mind. I look forward to continue working with this community as the industry matures. It seems we’re getting close. 

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