Which is more important, large UAVs or small UAVs?

By Luke Geiver | December 01, 2016

What is the most important area within the unmanned aircraft systems industry right now? Is it related to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s quest to create a safe and suitable regulatory framework for the UAS industry? Is the most important storyline about privacy issues or federal preemption of state laws? Could it be linked to exciting new tech related stories? Should it be about work being done to create an unmanned traffic management system or a system to make beyond visual line of sight a reality? Most certainly there are individuals in the industry who might argue for any of the aforementioned topics. There are also others who may argue for topics I didn’t even mention.

One of the talking points our team constantly hears is related to the amount of coverage from the mainstream media given to sUAS over large UAVs. The point, almost always from those linked to developing or continuing activity with large UAVs, is that the bigs don’t get enough coverage. Our team’s coverage scope includes unmanned aircraft systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, remotely piloted aircraft and drones from the nano class to the largest class. So, we include content in our magazine or website or at any of the events we help organize that ranges from the smallest of the smalls to the biggest of the bigs.

We’ve had cover images of large UAVs and others with small to medium UAVs. (Every single cover we’ve ever had has featured a UAV of some size, shape or form). Our stance and belief is that is all matters and that in some ways it is all connected.

Is there a disproportionate amount of news and hype coming from the sUAS world? Yes, there undoubtedly is. The fact is that currently there is more happening on the commercial side of UAS development within the nano, small or medium size UAV world. But, who is to say which size UAS is more important to the greater UAS industry? If you have an argument for one size over another, please let me know, I think it would make an interesting and well-read story or discussion piece.

Our team is basically UAV platform size agnostic. Heck, look at this week’s newsletter. We included a piece on a nano-sized UAV weight roughly the same as three pieces of paper and a flight testing procedure done on a General Atomics Predator-B.