20,000 commercial drones on

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts that up to 10,000 commercial drones might end up in American skies after new guidelines are improved.

Congress has already asked the FAA to write regulations for civil drone operators and submit them by 2015. The regulations should allow the civilian unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) market to develop rather quickly, both in new markets and established markets dominated by manned aircraft.

Teal Group analyst Paul Finnegan believes law enforcement will be the first to tap the potential of cheap UASs, followed by civilian applications. It is estimated that the UAS market will be worth around $94 over the next ten years, reports CNS News

The FAA has already issued 1.428 UAS licences, but most of them went to police, universities and federal agencies. Only 327 of these licences are still active.

Civilian unmanned aircraft clearly have a lot going for them and we can think of a wide range of applications. They are a lot cheaper and more efficient than manned aircraft, which makes them quite appealing for cash strapped government agencies and even some commercial enterprises.

However, New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg gave a foreboding radio interview that warned though he may not like them, it’s inevitable there will be domestic drones in the sky, quite possibly for surveillance purposes.

As such, the adoption of unmanned aircraft by civilian operators will raise some eyebrows, especially in conspiratorial circles. Some people like to think they are so important that the federal government has nothing better to do with its drones than to spy on them. We are, however, talking about conspiracy kooks who have nothing better to do with their lives than come up with half baked theories.