A new study suggests agriculture could represent nearly half of the growing market for commercial drones. In a report from AgWeb, a survey by Juniper Research found sales of commercial drone sales could jump from $261 million in 2015 to $481 million this year, with 48% expected to come from agricultural applications. Drones, known as unmanned aircraft systems, are used by growers and agronomist, along with crop insurers to survey fields, assess growing conditions and plant health, and evaluate crop damage.
The Federal Aviation Administration recently announced new regulations regarding the use of drones. In December, the FAA said all drones between a half pound and 55 pounds need to be registered with the agency. Existing owners must do so by February 19th; those who purchased drones after December 21st, 2015, must register before their first outdoor flights. For now, farmers who expect to use their drones for commercial use will need to submit a paper form.