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Drone insurance costs vary widely depending on usage. Most Policies getting cheaper.

If you are hiring a drone operator there are several things you need to look for. Currently only operators with an FAA pilots licence can fly drones. They also need to register their craft and the PIC (Pilot in Charge) has to have what is called a section 333 exemption. AVnet did find more than a couple section 333 holders however that are not pilots. But hold on, the red tape continues. To be in full compliance there are rules for distance to the public and encroachment on adjacent private property.

Distance to airports has to be checked, and finally a puzzling FAA requirement for 3 days notice of the shoot location. Spring 2016 rates are 600-1400 depending on usage and liability range, typically one million Dollars.  Underwriters include AIG and Global Aerospace.   At least two people we spoke with were pilots as well as insurance agents. Typically it is all about risk to the public. I was told it highly unlikely that the drone you saw at that wedding was operated legally. Wile general coverage for real estate, inspections etc is going down fast, insurance for Wedding photographers has jumped to $2300 per year.

Aside from safety the big debate that isn’t really happening is privacy rights.  Most areas and states still have no rules or laws about where you can operate them.  Or more accurately where they can fly by themselves.

Insurance companies are more concerned about privacy issues than property damage or personal injury.

Linux Foundation Sponsors UAV Next Gen working group. Autonomous Whirlybirds are Coming Soon.

Over 50 People are involved in shaping our future in one of the most noticeable ways since the automobile. Maybe not the huge autonomous glowing blimps from Blade Runner just yet, but get ready for new things in the sky that may take getting used to. In a few years air corridors will look a bit like those rush hour spaceships on the Jetsons. Minus George on his way to Spacely Sprockets.

The Dronecode Project is also forming three technical working groups to ensure better standardization and interoperability in the areas of camera and gimbal controls; airspace management; and hardware/software interfaces. Details include:

MAVlink Camera Working Group: aims to assist camera manufacturers implementing the MAVlink protocol in cameras. The group will also work with developers and manufacturers to expand the Dronecode platform so that it can support additional cameras and functions.

Airspace Working Group: formed to establish common data types, units and formats that all airspace providers can transmit and receive. The working group will also lead the discussion on best practices for how to ensure separation between aircraft(s) and establish agreement on common response behavior.

Hardware Working Group: the mandate of the hardware working group is to establish mechanical and electrical standards for interfaces to the autopilot and the peripherals. This will create a more formal interface between hardware and software development and unite efforts between Dronecode members and the open source developer community working to advance UAVs.

So while the FAA figures out who can operate Drones for real estate or location work, fulfillment companies will be embracing collision-avoiding, network-integrated drones that will not require a pilot at all.

Future of drone technology

Predictions for the drone industry vary greatly. The consulting firm Deloitte predicts that total revenue from nonmilitary drones in 2015 will be between $200 million and $400 million — equivalent to the price of a single midsize passenger jet. Longer-term forecasts are more optimistic, estimating commercial drones could become a billion-dollar industry by the 2020s.

Yet Snow said the restriction on flying drones beyond the visual line of sight means ambitious projects like Google’s Project Wing and Amazon’s Prime Air likely won’t dominate the market. At least not anytime soon. “As much as people want it to be, it’s just headlines,” he said.
Based on the types of initiatives that have already been granted exemptions, drones used for film, video and photography will likely lead the way. Already, these projects account for nearly half of all FAA approvals so far. But higher margins in engineering, surveying and agriculture could lead these industries to slowly come to the forefront.