The Federal Aviation Administration has taken some stands on drone technology by working to develop regulations for people who want to use them.
According to some national news sources, several groups are now filing lawsuits against the FAA. Some people feel that these regulations could negatively impact drone technology.
The Unmanned Aerial Systems program has been around at Northwestern Michigan College for four years and leaders say that students are filling up the classrooms to learn more about the growing technology and the careers that surround drones.
â??Theyâ??re a tool that can be used for doing things that can be done a different way or a lot cheaper,â?? said Northwestern Michigan College Unmanned Aerial Systems Program Manager, Tony Sauerbrey. â??Such as search and rescue or doing inspections of bridges or crops or you name it.â??
But that technology and the careers that go along with it could be stalled because the FAA has said that using drones for commercial use is illegal, until the regulations are developed.
â??It is progressing, but it is a little bit slower than what most people would like,â?? said Sauerbrey. â??It is a very big issue to solve with developing all of these regulations for a new industry but at the same time I think in many ways we probably could be progressing a little quicker to get these rules and regulations in place.â??
Those who use drones as a hobby are in what some people call a â??gray zoneâ?? because while there are some restrictions, some drone technology leaders say that the definition of a hobby is a bit lax.
â??Weâ??re going to go about doing what we are doing,â?? said Ken Weaver, owner and broker of Traverse North Realty and Old Mission Real Estate. â??Not hiring it out, but using our own drones on a personal basis.â??
Weaver has his own drone and has used it to film real estate property. He says it gives his customers a unique perspective on a future home or property.
â??You can show where the view from a home can be, second story,â?? said Weaver. â??You can show off waterfront easier. You get a great approach to a home. A scenic drive, you can drive your drone right up there. Really shows a property well.â??
Weaver says heâ??d love to hire a professional photographer to operate a drone, but says he wonâ??t be doing that until he knows that he can legally.
"It's not to say that there aren't jobs out there right now,â?? said Sauerbrey. â??It's true that the civilian jobs here in the United States are more or less being held back for the moment. Just for the next little bit, but there are other jobs out there that students are getting with UAV manufacturers and even doing some things overseas. So the industry is growing and it's not just a U.S. industry it's a worldwide industry."
NMC aviation leaders say the regulations should be developed in the next year or two.
NMC does have permission to fly their drones, but only in certain areas.