Dr. Darryl Jenkins, author of the recent AUVSI report on the Economic Impact of Drones, spoke last week with the DC Area Drone User Group about business opportunities using drone technology. The report notes that drones will help create more than 70,000 new American jobs and stimulate $13.6 billion in economic activity during the first three years following their integration into U.S. skies. However, during his talk Dr. Jenkins stated that, according to new models he is developing, these numbers significantly underestimated the economic impact of drones for the U.S. economy.
Dr. Jenkins also suggested that it was insurance companies, and not government regulation, which would have the biggest impact on what businesses would develop around UAVs. Without insurance it is impossible to get VC funding or bank loans, and without financing it is very difficult to grow a business, so access to insurance is foundational in creating a strong business ecosystem for growing UAV enterprises.
Dr. Jenkins also noted that insurance company policies may be able to encourage respect for privacy by simply stating that anyone using their drones to invade someone’s privacy would lose their insurance coverage. Therefore if a tabloid outlet or private investigator was found trying to illegally film celebrities sunbathing at home they would lost their insurance and thus their access to capital. This would create strong disincentives to misuse these platforms.
To view the slides Dr Jenkins presentation please click on this link. The DC Area Drone User Group is a member of the Drone User Group Network, an association of community groups that seek to promote the use of flying robots for community service, artistic, entrepreneurial, and recreational purposes. If you are interested in starting a Drone User Group in your area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .