(Credit: Shutterstock) If you’re a fan of drone technology or a drone pilot yourself, it’s easy to think the tech is mainstream. It’s not.
And it turns out drone owners are just a small sliver of Americans — just 8 percent own a flying drone, according to a December 2017 study from Pew Research Center. Even though many people don’t own drones, almost 60 percent have seen someone operating one.
As of January, more than 1 million people have registered as drone owners with the FAA. That includes both hobbyist and commercial drone owners. The mandatory registration was initially instituted in 2015 but was found illegal in 2017 — it was reinstated in December 2017.
But How Do Americans Feel About Drones?
While Americans are certainly becoming more exposed to drone tech, they still have mixed feelings about it. The study found 58 percent of people would simply be curious, and 45 percent said they would be interested, if they saw a drone flying near their home. Only 26 percent would be nervous, and about one in 10 would be angry or scared.
In the past, drone pilots have been physically and verbally assaulted when flying (even while following the FAA’s rules, mind you). One woman even stole a drone, lied a bunch and tried to get the pilot in trouble with the police. It’s about a 16-minute video, but it’s worth the watch.