“Sky-Futures, a British company that dominates the use of drones to collect and analyze inspection data for oil and gas companies, says its business soared 700 percent last year as the normally conservative energy industry embraced the new technology. Co-founder and operations director Chris Blackford said the company is coupling drones with software and a better understanding of what works in the field, giving Sky-Futures ‘a head-start over the U.S because we understand pretty intimately the problems facing the oil and gas market, and how we can solve them with technology.’ Looser regulations outside the U.S. have created pockets of innovation attracting ideas, money and momentum, says Patrick Thevoz, co-founder and CEO of Swiss-based Flyability” - Jeremy Wagstaff, 2015
The international commercial UAS market is valued at $100 billion over the next decade, due to increased UAS applications in the forestry, oil and gas, law enforcement, and agricultural industries. Though military purchases are still dominant, though commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spending currently accounts for roughly 12% of the global UAV market and is expected to rise to approximately $82.1 billion between 2015 and 2025 (Ballve, 2014). The FAA has estimated that, if regulations are changed, 7,500 commercial sUAVs could be flying in the US before the end of the decade.
In the global military UAV market, US firms have been losing their market share in recent years to Israeli, European, and Chinese firms due, to strict export controls. To help combat this, the Department of State recently announced it will expedite its review process of foreign military sales with respect to 300 km range 500 kg payload class UAVs—otherwise known as Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) UAVs.
1. Act in accordance of international law, including humanitarian provisions
2. Use armed UAVs only under a lawful basis e.g. self defense
3. The nation will abstain from using UAVs for domestic surveillance purposes
4. UAVs will employ procedures to limit collateral damage
Peter Lichtenbaum and Rachel Stohl argue the new aforementioned restrictions will lead to greater difficulties in exporting American MALE UAVs, despite the Department of State pledge to keep its review process to one year or less. If the US Government continues to inhibit the export of optionally armed American UAVs or similar products, states combating terrorism will find alternate suppliers. For example, the US Government recently barred the sale of additional Cobra helicopter gunships to Nigeria amid human rights concerns; Nigeria subsequently acquired Chinese CH-3 UAVs which it has deployed against Boko Haram militants.
- Small Unmanned Aerial Systems: What Will the FAA Do? , Mark Colborn , 2015. http://www.aviationtoday.com/the-checklist/Small-Unmanned-Aerial-Systems-What-Will-the-FAA-Do&thinsp_84243.html
- Drone policy improving — but we have a ways to go, http://m.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/fedbiz_daily/2015/02/drone-policy-improving-but-we-have-a-ways-to-go.html?ana=e_wash_fedbiz&s=newsletter&ed=2015-02-26&u=P7IjntEqPC33GGhyR+ixPA0c3d4c12&t=1424990006&r=full
- Game of drones: As U.S. dithers, rivals get a head start, Jeremy Wagstaff, 2015. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/08/us-tech-drones-idUSKBN0M40VM20150308
- Obama To Sell Armed Drones To More Countries, Patrick Tucker Marcus Weisgerber, 2015.
- What Obama’s Drone Export Policy Really Means, Peter Lichtenbaum and Rachel Stohl , 2015.
- Obama administration to allow sales of armed drones to allies, Missy Ryan , 2015. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-cracks-open-door-to-the-export-of-armed-drones-to-allied-nations/2015/02/17/c5595988-b6b2-11e4-9423-f3d0a1ec335c_story.html
- Rep. Hunter to Obama: Send Jordan the Predator XP, Joe Gould , 2015. http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/policy-budget/congress/2015/02/05/hunter-to-obama-send-jordan-the-predator-xp/22934783/
- TECH More: Mobile Internet of Things Drones BI Intelligence COMMERCIAL DRONES: Assessing The Potential For A New Drone-Powered Economy, Marcelo Ballve, 2015.