When a national government puts their weight behind an emerging technology, it’s usually a sign that there are some bright things on the horizon. In the United States, the white house is pushing forward with an initiative to try and bring technology developers closer together, with the aim of increasing the speed of development for drones and related technologies.
It has already been confirmed that President trump will hold meetings with some of the largest industry innovators, including AT&T, Honeywell, and General Electric. Other drone manufacturers and developers will be included, along with potential investors who could help to pump capital into the industry.
The White House, and many industry insiders, believe that a push for developments in drones and technology will help to create not only technical innovations, but also jobs in the market.
Trump’s key focus will be on commercializing some of the technologies that are already in development, including drone hardware as well as the networks that will support operation. 5G cellular technology has already been mentioned as an important piece of the puzzle to make drones more capable, safer, and more viable for commercial operations.
Continuing on from Work Started by the Obama Administration
This is not the first time that the White House will use its influence to inject life into the UAV market. The previous administration used their legal influence to make it easier for commercial, private, and educational organizations to operate drones in United States air space. While there are still security concerns with operating drones in urban and other sensitive areas, experts believe that opening up regulations could allow for drones to be used to make commercial deliveries. Some American companies, such as Amazon, are performing the majority of their drone testing in foreign jurisdictions. The latest positive news from the White House could be seen as a reactionary move that could help to keep developing technologies closer to home.
It is expected that there will be almost 500,000 commercial drones operating in the United States before the year 2021. Enthusiast use of drones could triple in the same time frame.
Technology Will Be Critical
Ensuring safe drone operations on a large scale will require the necessary infrastructure. Drones currently navigate based on algorithms, operator control, and satellite positioning. With the widespread rollout of a high speed cellular 5G network in the United States, it’s possible that drones would also be able to stay permanently connected to a network, aiding in tracking and navigation. 5G networks have the potential to be at least ten times the speed of existing 4G/LTE networks, which would allow for advanced telemetry, diagnostics, and control signals. Strong network support would make autonomous flights much more realistic for commercial operators.
Will Political Intervention be a Benefit?
The willingness of the White House to engage with drone industry insiders, should be seen a positive for the industry and any individual or company that holds a vested interest in drone operation and development. With the backing of the White House, it could mean that venture capitalists could become more interested in drone technologies, and it could also mean that some of the legal hurdles would be cleared earlier through the use of executive orders or influence on lawmakers.
In any case, the president’s personal involvement and interest in promoting drone technologies should be seen as a huge positive for the industry, and could help to spearhead innovation within the United States, while creating healthy competition from other markets.