There is a lot of uncertainty in the US UAV market due to lack of data. We do not have accurate sales data, number of hours flown, number of incidents, or even a good definition of what a UAV incident is. However, there is one really good UAV related dataset: Authorizations Granted Via Section 333 Exemptions.
This is the FAA's list of exemptions granted to allow commercial UAV operations.
Let's ask some simple questions of the data, leaving the best for last. (If you don't want to read the whole thing, please do pay attention to the last question.)
- How many petitions/exemptions by state?
- What was elapsed time between filing of petition and granting of exemption?
- How many petitions were there for each industry/purpose?
Before going forward please understand this - this post is not in any way a comment on the legality or appropriateness of the 333 process and it does not in any way imply that commercial operations without a 333 are in some way illegal or “worse” than operations with a 333 exemption.
23 June, 2015