Just because the likes of Amazon, Google and Facebook are exploring the use of drones doesn’t mean Americans are going to embrace them with open arms. In fact, a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows there are more Americans who oppose the use of commercial drones than there are Americans who support their use. The poll, which surveyed 1,010 American adults ages 18+ online Dec. 4-8, found that 43 percent of respondents oppose allowing private operators to use unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes.
Americans are skeptical that the benefits of the heralded drone revolution will outweigh the risks to privacy and safety, although a majority approve of using small, unmanned aircraft for dangerous jobs or in remote areas, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. By a 2-1 margin, those who had an opinion opposed using drones for commercial purposes. Only 21 percent favored commercial use of drones, compared with 43 percent opposed. Another 35 percent were in the middle. With a few narrow exceptions, the Federal Aviation Administration prohibits commercial use of drones but is about to propose regulations that will broaden the use of small ones. It may be two or three years before the rules take effect, but once they do thousands are expected to buzz U.S. skies. Congress may also step in next year to try to nudge the FAA to move faster. Drones are forecast to create 100,000 jobs and $82 billion in economic impact in the first 10 years they’re allowed, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade group.