FAA: Expect 600K Commercial Drones in the Air Within a Year

Adam Rowe

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) itself, there will be about 600,000 commercial drones airborne before 2017 is over. This is surprising partially due to the number of commercially registered drones currently available: 20,000.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx calls this “one of the most dramatic periods of change in the history of transportation,” NPR reports. Though Foxx was including other innovations with outsized impacts (notably self-driving cars, which I've written about a lot), the number of drones is set to expand by 30 times its current size within a year.

Why Expect 580,000 More Commercial Drones?

A new regulation will make owning a commercial drone far easier, dramatically boosting industry interest. NPR explains the impact of the law:

“Broadly, the new rules change the process of becoming a commercial drone pilot: Instead of having to acquire a traditional pilot's license and getting a special case-by-case permission from the regulators, drone operators now need to pass a new certification test and abide by various flying restrictions (and, well, be older than 16).”

Over 3,000 people preregistered to take the drone certification test on just the exact day the rule was implemented, so you can see there's a strong appeal.

According to Douglas Johnson, vice president for technology policy at the Consumer Technology Association, the increase in drones will continue for another decade, though the explosion anticipated in 2017 will slow down: “If the federal government continues to embrace drone technology policy that balances safety and innovation,” he stated, “by 2025 our country will reach one million drone flights per day.”

Did you find this article helpful? Click on one of the following buttons
We're so happy you liked! Get more delivered to your inbox just like it.

We're sorry this article didn't help you today – we welcome feedback, so if there's any way you feel we could improve our content, please email us at contact@tech.co

Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and he has an art history book on 1970s sci-fi coming out from Abrams Books in 2022. In the meantime, he's hunting own the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.

Explore More See all news
close Building a Website? We've tested and rated Wix as the best website builder you can choose – try it yourself for free Try Wix today