Drones misunderstood for all their positive uses

Worrying news for European drone enthusiasts as Sweden has placed a ban on flying drones with cameras. According to Sweden’s leading drone company Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) as many as 3,000 people may lose their jobs as a result. We have talked before about the unfortunate stigma that is often applied to drones and which is holding back the industry in many countries. We think it is time that drone businesses were recognised and regulated rather than talked down and banned.

The Swedish ruling which bans cameras on drones and requires operators to have a surveillance permit. Even then, getting a permit does not guarantee the ability to fly. There are no exceptions to the ban, not even for journalists. This represents a major loss for drone businesses in Sweden and effectively closes down a booming market sector before it has a chance to gain a foothold and demonstrate its worth. Understandably, Swedish businesses are getting worried about what this means for the future.

Stopping a growing technology industry in its tracks

Of course drones can be used for ill, but the vast majority of drones are used responsibly by drone businesses for legitimate purposes. In one fell swoop, the Swedish legislators have closed down the ability for people to record aerial shots of their weddings and removed a low-cost option for film makers and advertisers to capture stunning aerial shots. There are many examples of companies using drones in a positive way.

Drone businesses suffer from being painted in a negative light, but we believe that rather than an outright ban, authorities should work more closely with regulators ensuring the responsible flight of drones. Although the possibilities of surveillance are real, and do concern people, the reality is that everyone that owns a smartphone has the potential to record people in public. There seems to be less resistance to this, and government-controlled cameras on the streets and local transportation already capture our every move. This increased surveillance is a trend worldwide, an it makes one wonder if drones are not being used as a convenient cover for increased surveillance by the state.

Regulation not Persecution is the solution

We wonder how ‘drone’ has become such a negative connotations – as have others. We think that the bottom line is a more measured approach to regulating drone drone businesses:

  • Governments should look at regulating the industry better rather than banning drones
  • They should inform brands and businesses that they should only hire licensed drone operators
  • The media should start reporting more on the benefits of drones rather than when something goes wrong

It seems crazy to start banning drones when by 2020 industry analysts see drone businesses evolving into a worldwide market worth $100 billion. If the media begins to report in a more balanced way, and governments embrace the potential of the technology for industry instead of banning useful applications, drones can have a very bright future.

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