From USA Today article Drone coalition splits as DJI, GoPro faction quits.
SAN FRANCISCO — The national group that represents companies that make and sell drones has split, with those focused on consumers leaving to form their own organization.
Four drone companies left the Small UAV Coalition on Thursday. They are China-based DJI, French-based Parrot, San Mateo, Calif.-based GoPro and Berkeley, Calif.-based 3DR.
UAV stands for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
While still tightly aligned with the coalition on big issues, the break-away companies plan to create a still-unnamed group to very specifically focus on consumer issues, said GoPro spokesman Jeff Brown.
As the drone market matures, a shifting of needs was inevitable. Larger companies such as Amazon’s Prime Air, Alphabet’s Google X and others are looking more at drones for delivery, cargo and more commercial uses. Consumers have gravitated to using drones for photography, racing and just to play with.
“We think there are going to be millions of consumers that fly these, and that are focused on safe and responsible fight, and we want to make sure that the regulations track with them,” said Brown.
DJI and the other three companies all joined the Coalition about a year ago, "so it was a natural time to review where we were going,” said Adam Lisberg, spokesman for DJI Technology, the world’s largest drone manufacturer.
“We consider the Small UAV Coalition to be allies and friends. But the business is growing so big that we thought we would most benefit from a group focused on the issues that are important to small drone manufacturers and our customers,” said Lisberg.
Many of the regulatory issues that surround drones are beginning to diverge, as the FAA makes a distinction between pleasure and commercial use. However the final outlines of what the rules will look like is still far from clear.
“The issues for our customers are about where and how average people can fly small drones,” Lisberg said.
The split was not unexpected and was very amicable, said Michael Drobac with the law firm of Akin Gump in Washington D.C. He is the spokesperson for the Small UAV Coalition.
“We wish them incredibly well in their work and we remain committed as a coalition to what we believe is going to be an incredibly vibrant commercial marketplace,” he said.