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Are Drones A Legal Option for Businesses?

Are drones legal for commercial use? Our Hoffman Estates attorneys examine a recent story involving an Illinois farmer and his support of drones for simplifying his work. Drones could be the next innovative step in the long history of agriculture technology.

How Can Drones Help Agricultural Workers?

A farmer in Dwight Illinois has taken upon himself to purchase a drone to cut back on the time needed to survey his crops. Depending on the size of a field, drones in the farming industry could save hours or days in surveying time. He told the media that a major reason he supports drones is because they give him much more time to spend with his family.

Currently, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations prohibit drones for commercial use; however, the FAA permits individuals to fly drones for their own private recreation. The current guidelines for private drones specify that they must remain in your line of sight and away from spectators or noise-sensitive areas, such as schools or hospitals.

When Can I Use a Drone for Business Purposes?

The FAA will have to consider how a drone for commercial use can operate around noise sensitive areas and what the legal ramifications could be if a drone malfunctions near an area with many people. For instance, urban businesses have expressed a desire for drones to help in specific tasks, such as making deliveries. Naturally, the FAA will someday need to lay out the ramifications a Chicago business could face if its drone crashes into a crowd in downtown Chicago.

Fortunately for our Illinois farmer, the FAA plans on enacting new regulations in regards to drones in 2015. It is rumored that these rules could allow drones for some agricultural uses. Already, the FAA has shown some leniency in their rules. Recently, it granted waivers to six movie and TV companies after it was convinced that the drones could be used safely while filming scenes in the US.

It is likely that many drone-making businesses will pop up when the FAA gives the green light on drones for commercial use. According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the drone industry could produce over $82 billion dollars for the US economy in ten years if drones became legal today.

If you are considering using new technology for your business, or if you are considering starting a business that sells new technology, reach out to one of our Illinois business attorneys to discuss your product in relation to federal and Illinois law. The law is constantly shifting in terms of products that use new forms of technology, such as drones and 3D printing. Make sure you are following all the regulations before setting up shop.

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