Acquiring authorizations from the FAA for commercial drone flights has always been a slow process, leaving many businesses to simply avoid using them. That will change with the recent rollout of a new FAA program. Enterprise drone software company Kittyhawk is collaborating with Boeing, who is one of the ten companies that participated in the FAA’s closed beta of drone authorizations and one of three to use that beta and create software that is now available to the public. Phase one of the collaboration is the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), which just came online. LAANC allows drone pilots to receive near-instant authorizations from the FAA for flights under 400 feet for various applications. I’m told that 150 airport and metropolitan areas will be open for use, with 350 more following throughout the year. There are other companies on the market but Kittyhawk differentiates itself not only because of its partnership with Boeing, but also because of its software’s ability to manage every phase of drone operation. Through its SaaS services, the company provides operations and management solutions for drone flights in real-time including keeping flight logs, providing weather data on a hyperlocal basis, mission planning, maintenance management and more. Considering the fact that Goldman Sachs is forecasting the commercial and civil use of drones to reach $13 billion in two years, the timing of LAANC is perfect. With changes in FAA policy, it’s not a bad time to consider starting your own commercial drone business. From construction to agriculture, to oil and gas drones are rapidly finding their way into nearly every industry. If you were to consider starting your own business keep it simple and ask yourself, what industries do you know and what needs in your area are not being filled. Opportunities will present themselves that we haven’t even thought of yet, especially with live streaming protocols that are now possible. Some of you may have gotten in the game early at high costs and low ROI, but don’t turn your back on a possible new tool for your operation. (Source: Forbes, Goldman)

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