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Drone industry could launch economic growth

Published On: Dec 03 2013 06:53:01 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 03 2013 08:11:32 PM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

When professional photographer Michael Kienitz watches his drone lift off the ground carrying one of his cameras he sees a business future taking off as well.

“This is the precipice. This is where we’re going to really, no pun intended, take off,” Kienitz said.

He has been shooting video with the drone for the last eight months, but is unable at this point to sell the material he’s collected. Like many other professionals he is waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration to draft regulations allowing for commercial use of drones.

“The economic potential is unbelievable,” Kienitz said.

Industry analysts believe that once the FAA drafts the drone regulations the industry could provide an economic boost to the economy measure in billions of dollars and tens of thousands of new jobs.

“I think that there are so many new applications that are going to come out of the drones and drone technology that I think it is overall going to be good for society. You’re actually going to create new jobs that didn’t exist before and whole new markets that didn’t exist before,” said Thomas Kaminski, an instructor at Madison College who teaches an automation class that focuses on drones.

Kaminski said eventually drones could one day be used as crop dusters and as air tankers to help fight wild fires, among other things.

“I think that one of the big potential applications commercially is to actually observe the ground, not necessarily people, but for example, to put on sensors that would look for crop damage, put on sensors that would look for holes in the road, put on sensor methods of recording accidents,” Kaminski said.

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