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Let Them Fly: CEA Applauds FAA’s Ruling on Drones

Limited government approval of drones

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Consumer Electronics Association issued the following statement on behalf of CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro regarding today’s announcement by the Federal Aviation Administration permitting the use of camera-equipped drones on movie sets:

“Today’s decision by the FAA is an important milestone as the agency develops rules to allow unmanned aircraft to operate safely in U.S. airspace. We support the FAA’s action and related guidance that provides a model for other private businesses seeking approval to operate drones in populated areas under controlled environments.

“Drones and other unmanned aircraft promise to revolutionize a wide array of consumer and commercial activities, creating new businesses and jobs. We already see these devices being used to assist in a variety of innovative applications, from aerial coverage for sports and real estate to assistance in search and rescue and disaster relief missions to providing novel new camera angles to capture professional and personal video footage. I say firmly, with tongue slightly planted in cheek: when it comes to drones and unmanned aircraft, the sky is the limit.

“We urge the FAA to expedite an appropriate regulatory framework for this nascent category. Time is of the essence. As the U.S. remains stuck on the ground developing rules for these robots-on-wings, the rest of the world is moving forward in putting these unmanned aircraft to work in life-altering ways. We will continue to work with our members and the FAA to develop a clear and straightforward policy framework that fosters innovation in this emerging market and enables these new devices — and their resulting benefits — to reach new heights in the U.S.”

CEA forecasts the global market for consumer drones will approach $300 million by 2018 on factory-to-dealer sales of just under a million units. This marks a strong increase over CEA’s forecast for 2014 of $84 million in global revenues on sales of 250,000 units.

At the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (Jan. 6-9, 2015), 6,500 square feet of exhibition floor space will be dedicated to remote-controlled aircraft and drones. Although the FAA has granted limited approval for drone use, the restrictions are still considerable. Click this link to read about some of the restrictions.