We know what you’re thinking: love drones? Those ominous, free-floating, sometimes unseen killers that have walked our nation out onto some perilously thin ice, geopolitically and ethically? Even the word itself is loaded. No one can agree on what a drone is, exactly, or whether they should be referred to as drones at all. Turns out we don’t just think about drones. We have feelings about drones.
But yes, there is plenty to love beyond the headlines about the Middle East. Once the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) establishes airspace rules, which is likely to happen next year, the drone industry could fuel a decade-long, $82-billion economic boom, according to a study done by the industry’s leading trade group. Already, one analyst estimates the global market for small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at $250 million to $300 million. The truth is, we’re witnessing a Kitty Hawk moment—the start of an era in which drones will change the world and the way we live in it. They’ve saved lives overseas; at home, they will make our cities and grids smarter, keep people safer, and help save our planet. And, as you’ll see on these pages, they can be fun, too.