I had a bunch of slides (yes, slides) drawn up, but the scanner's messed up so they're worthless. Anyways, here goes:

The main obstruction to the FAA allowing commercial drone usage is, if I have my wits about me, preventing inter-drone collisions.

Solution: Regional or national databases with federally-required GPS chips that relay their position back to a national database every second, and retrieve a local map of drone positions. As long as the drone's don't go into the "blue zone" (my term for the area that a drone could be in, because GPS systems are never perfectly accurate and really only give an area) of another drone or go above 500 feet, they're good.

(comedy first image for "aviary" from Google Images used to break up Great Wall O' Text)


Another idea: "Aviaries". Effectively away roosts for both reconnaissance and delivery drones. Use an ANSI-defined standard current through inductive coils to charge drone's battery, without the drone having to RTB (return to base) or make any human contact. Charge current is cut-off by the drone when it determines that the charge level is sufficient so the charger doesn't have to carry a bazillion and one battery profiles.

Another national GPS database would carry the positions of aviaries so the drones (notice I'm making this friendly to autonomous operation) would know roughly where the aviaries are, and a semi-complicated infrared beacon system to guide them in for descent. To encourage proliferation of these aviaries, businesses that host them would receive both a small tax credit and first dibs on available delivery or reconnaissance drones in their "roost".

There's serious potential here. If the FAA keeps dragging their feet, it's all going to go to waste, as will millions of potential dollars in the on-demand patio side frappuccino industry, or more importantly, the billions of potential dollars in farm reconnaissance and epic aerial photography.