Which states have the highest # of commercial drone registrations?
According to data gathered from Vox Media’s github repository, California, Florida, and Texas together account for >30% of commercial drone registrations, with ~300 registrations a piece (and growing every day!). Each of these states have drones registered for aerial photography, land surveying, and inspections across a variety of categories (Agriculture, Utilities/Energy/Infrastructure, Construction) . Additionally, Texas has a good chunk of registrations slated for the Utilities/Energy/Infrastructure category, presumably to inspect oil rigs and drilling sites.
It’s definitely worth noting that while these states are off to a quick start in terms of drone registration, they also house the largest populations in the United States, less New York (which came in at a little over 70 registrations):
These 10 categories account for >95% of drone registrations:
How the current drone trend is (sort of) analogous to the beginning of the internet?
(1) Relatively low barrier to entry:
According to Business Insider, over 90% of companies with drone permits make less than $1 million in annual revenues, and just 11% have over 10 employees; this indicates a relatively low barrier to entry.
(2) An entirely new space opened to mass amounts of people:
When the internet was first launched, companies, engineers, and hobbyists were given an entirely new digital space to innovate in, with extremely low overhead, profoundly changing the economy. Again, a new space: airspace is being opened up to the masses, and a new physical platform (rather than digital) is now up for grabs, and again, there are a great deal of small players jumping at the chance to get in as the barrier to entry is relatively low(not to mention all of the non-commercial drone registrations).
(3) Incubation period:
As with the internet, there will be (and has already been) a period of fighting through regulation and continuing to iterate on ideas to bring profitable business models to the table.
It will be interesting to see how the use of drones/airspace evolves over time; aside from top registered applications of aerial photography, logistics, land surveying, and inspections across a variety of categories, there will be a number of additional uses for drones that aren’t yet showing up in the data in high frequencies (take drone fishing, for example).