A recent poll shows that 2 out of 3 Americans have misgivings about the potential “drone revolution.”
According to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, which was conducted online December 4-8 among 1,010 adults with a margin of error for all results at 3.4 percent, Americans largely don’t like the idea of commercial drone use though it must be said that many are undecided. just 21% favored commercial use of drones, while 43% opposed their use. 35% of those polled were undecided given the infancy of the industry.
Congress and the FAA
The poll was presumably taken given that the FAA is expected to present Congress with draft regulations on manufacture, ownership and use of drones in commercial and private businesses by the end of the 2014.
The administration is rumored to propose restricting drones weighing less than 55 pounds to flights under 400 feet high, forbid nighttime flights, and require drones be kept within sight of their operators somewhat defeating the purpose.
Congress has been pushing the FAA to present them with more information given the potential benefits to the United States’ economy. According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, drones are expected to create 100,000 jobs and $82 billion in economic impact in the first 10 years they’re allowed to fly domestic skies.
Commercial Drones: Pros, Cons and paranoia
Not surprisingly, drone support was weakest among seniors in the poll. I’m not saying seniors aren’t progressive as a rule, I’m shouting it without the use of the Caps lock.
Roberta Williams, 66, told the AP that she doesn’t believe “the average person should be allowed to just go out and get one to do whatever they want to do with it.” She also expressed her concern that people would arm them and take photos of her. That said, her response hardly speaks to commercial drone use.
Women as a demographic were nearly equally opposed to drone use, while wealthier Americans and college graduates were the biggest supporters of drone use.
Europe and Europeans are considerably more optimistic about the future of drones and thousands of companies have been given licenses to test and build drone tech. This understanding recently prompted Amazon to write a threatening letter to the FAA in which they threatened to move the bulk of their drone program overseas. If the FAA fails to get it right they won’t be alone.