What is more important: good laws or good business?
That question is being posed by the emergence of unmanned aerial vehicle (“UAV”) technology. Virginia was the first state to pass an anti-drone law. Then, Texas said it would enact the toughest laws in the land respecting drones. There are important and good policy reasons underneath these laws (privacy protection, namely).
However, these domestic laws may be missing a larger point: Internationally, the UAV market is robust and the appetite for UAVs is substantial and nations like China are taking market share away from the United States. (Heck, there is is even a website called uavdronesforsale.com out there.)
Putting aside the military implications of UAV operations and related international rules of engagement, there is an important opportunity for the United States to set precedent in the development of commercial applications for UAVs. As the Federal Aviation Administration carefully looks at ways to integrate UAVs into the national airspace, it is not surprising that other nations may forge ahead.