Boosted by a growing use in industries such as agriculture, media, and mining, the commercial UAV market is anticipated to reach over $15.6 million by 2026.
In addition to providing high-resolution imagery, commercial unmanned aerial vehicles may also be the next way to get around. Uber, for example, plans to launch a flying taxi service in the U.S. by 2023.
The rideshare company recently revealed its passenger cabin design at the annual Uber Elevate conference in Washington, D.C.
As commercial UAV popularity increases and air taxis prepare to take the sky, however, will companies like Uber look to the military for standards support?
In a Tech Briefs presentation titled Eyes in the Sky: Military Drone Technology, an attendee asked an expert from defense electronics manufacturer Curtiss Wright:
"Is commercial AUV, such as air taxis, being influenced by military technology and standards?"
Read Chief Technology Officer David Jedynak’s edited response below.
David Jedynak, CTO, Curtiss-Wright: It actually is going back and forth right now. The FAA standards that are [impacting] the commercial air taxi industry are pushing into the military space because of the desire to have military UAVs operate in national airspace.
Right now, if you want a military UAV to operate and take off from the US, they typically get stuck having to spiral up to a very, very high altitude above their airspace and then fly out. It would truly be easier to take off from Edwards Air Force Base or wherever they are and just fly through the normal airspace. We’re seeing the commercial standards drive into the military so that the military has a better interoperability and is better able to share that interoperability with first responders and other national emergency type organizations.
We’re not really seeing a large pull of military technology and standards influencing the commercial space, from our perspective. It typically is the other way around. The only other major macro trend we’ve seen is some of the folks in that space creating platforms are focused on dual use — Can they put their investment in a platform that would be usable for commercial use as well as military use and therefore be more efficient with their investment dollars.
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