Lisa Ellman and Gretchen West, two drone industry veterans with a combined 20 years in government policymaking and unmanned aircraft systems advocacy, have announced the formation and official launch of the Commercial Drone Alliance. This industry-led, independent and non-profit association is dedicated to supporting enterprise end-users interested in adopting drone technology and enabling commercial market growth.
From catastrophe response, to precision agriculture, to infrastructure inspection, to newsgathering, to construction site monitoring and everything in between, commercial drones are making valuable contributions and represent one of the fastest growing sectors in technology. In its most recent aviation forecast, the FAA predicted that sales of drones for commercial purposes are expected to grow from 600,000 this year to more than 2.7 million by 2020. However, skepticism and fundamental misunderstandings have led to efforts to stunt the growth of this industry.
The Alliance will focus on educating lawmakers on the benefits of commercial drones, changing the conversation about the technology to shape positive public perception, overcoming public policy hurdles that suppress growth, highlighting value propositions for end users, coordinating consensus-based standards development, and drafting policy based on technology and innovation.
Founding Alliance board members include Cisco, AirMap, Lift, DataWing and Measure. Additional members include CNN, Aerialtronics, Nightingale Intelligent Systems, Skyspecs and Talon Aerolytics. The growing Alliance membership will include end users, manufacturers, insurance providers, investors, service providers and relevant associations who have all demonstrated a passion and commitment for growing the commercial drone industry in a way that promotes safety and security
The Alliance is co-led by drone industry leaders Gretchen West and Lisa Ellman. “We are thrilled to see the Commercial Drone Alliance come to fruition after spending so much time engaging with and talking to the drone community and end users to understand their needs,” said Lisa Ellman, co-executive director, Commercial Drone Alliance.
“We’re excited to work with and for this community and focus on the challenges inhibiting drone technology adoption. The enthusiasm of our members and partners from all parts of this ecosystem is what is going to advance our goals to success,” added Gretchen West.