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DJI, 3DR, Parrot and GoPro form new drone advocacy group

TechCrunch TechCrunch 4/04/2016 Frederic Lardinois

DJI, 3DR, Parrot and GoPro are launching their own drone advocacy group to lobby for “policies that promote innovation and safety, and create a practical and responsible regulatory framework.”

The Small UAV Coalition, which launched with participation from DJI, 3DR, Amazon Prime Air and others interested in the drone ecosystem, has been one of the main lobbying groups for drone manufacturers since it launched in 2014.

Now, however, the logos of DJI, 3DR, Parrot and GoPro are nowhere to be found on the Small UAV Coalition’s member page (which still includes the likes of Google[x], Amazon Prime Air, AirMap, Intel and others).

“There are significant economic and social benefits to drone operations in the U.S., and industry must work with policymakers to ensure a safe environment for flying,” the members of the new alliance said in a statement today. “The Drone Manufacturers Alliance believes a carefully balanced regulatory framework requires input from all stakeholders and must recognize the value and necessity of continued technological innovation. By highlighting innovation and emphasizing education, we intend to work with policymakers to ensure drones continue to be safely integrated into the national airspace.”

As the drone market — and the number of companies in it — continued to grow, the Small UAV coalition probably didn’t feel like the right kind of group to represent the interests of these major drone manufacturers anymore.

While the interests of the likes of DJI and Parrot are probably mostly aligned with the other companies in the ecosystem that provide services around drones or are looking to start drone delivery operations, the manufacturers’ largest market for now is probably the consumer market and there, the issues are somewhat different from those other drone companies are dealing with.

As long as this doesn’t lead to unnecessary turf wars, having two organizations that essentially advocate for the same issues doesn’t have to be a bad thing, especially if the Smal UAV coalition now gets to focus on commercial drone usage and the Drone Manufacturer Coalition on consumer issues.

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