A drone “autonomy economy” is coming. But how to get there?

OK. We’ll admit that headline might not hook all of you. But with drone Fleet Management tools and autonomous deliveries, it’s a big issue for the industry – and it made for a fascinating panel discussion on the closing day of this year’s XPONENTIAL online conference.

There’s a lot of technology floating around when it comes to drones. Some machines are getting smarter, able to navigate complex environments without a pilot even moving the sticks. Drone delivery companies are testing out automated deliveries while monitoring software that tracks multiple drones in simultaneous flight. And, of course, there are many solutions for Fleet Management and growing hardware and software options for Detect and Avoid, to minimize any conflict with crewed aircraft.

Automation and autonomy make sense, and in limited trials are proving to be safer than missions where a pilot is controlling things manually. But there’s a bit of a problem: The rules for drones were written with…