The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) released a report listing the benefits of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for military and domestic use as well as for the national economy through exports.
The report also seeks to dispel myths about the dangers of UAS to manned aircraft and people on the ground—it says the technology is improving to the point that the situational awareness is similar for remote pilots and those in an aircraft and in some cases better—and about the potential market of the unmanned aircraft. In Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Perceptions & Potential, AIA says that more than 1,500 UAS types were built globally in 2012, with more than 20 percent built in the United States, and that the overall market is expected to generate $89 billion during the next 10 years.
Export controls are impeding the ability of U.S. drone manufacturers to further capitalize on their products, AIA says. The report says that restrictions on missile proliferation contained in the Missile Technology Control Regime agreed to by certain countries need to be reworked to distinguish between UAS and missiles.
Regarding privacy concerns stemming from UAS operations domestically, the report says that such surveillance missions will likely be “highly regulated” to protect “personal privacy and due process.”
Other impediments to wider use of UAS include ensuring that the next-generation air traffic control system is properly resourced to enable integration of drones into the national airspace. The report also says that more work has to be done to ensure there is spectrum allocated for beyond line-of-sight radio communications between drones and operators.