Forecasts estimate an expected 7,500 small unmanned aircraft in the national airspace in the next five years. For now, almost all of the unmanned aircraft operations that are approved are for public use and research purposes, and on a case by case basis. A new UAS roadmap document, developed with key stakeholders, will outline what is needed to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace.
The roadmap, found here http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/uas/, addresses the policies, regulations, technologies, and procedures needed to integrate unmanned aircraft on a routine basis. To accomplish this, there must be a change in the way business is done. Operational goals, as well as safety issues must be considered when planning to expand the use of unmanned aircraft. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta had this to say about the FAA’s role in UAS integration, “As the provider of air traffic services, we must ensure the safety and efficiency of the entire airspace, including all aircraft, people and property – both manned and unmanned – in the air and on the ground.”