The national group that represents companies that make and sell drones has split, with those focused on consumers leaving to form their own organization.

Four drone companies left the Small UAV Coalition on Thursday. They are China-based DJI, French-based Parrot, San Mateo, Calif.-based GoPro and Berkeley, Calif.-based 3DR.

As the drone market matures, a shifting of needs was inevitable. Larger companies such as Amazon’s Prime Air, Alphabet’s Google X and others are looking more at drones for delivery, cargo and more commercial uses. Consumers have gravitated to using drones for photography, racing and just to play with.

Many of the regulatory issues that surround drones are beginning to diverge, as the FAA makes a distinction between pleasure and commercial use. However, the final outlines of what the rules will look like is still far from clear.

“The issues for our customers are about where and how average people can fly small drones,” said Adam Lisberg a spokesman for DJI.

Michael Drobac commented that the split was friendly and it is hard to know what impact if any there would be on the combined lobbying initiative. To the extent that form follows function it makes a lot of sense to mirror the FAA’s approach.

That said, in my opinion the pressure to “do something” is going to come down on the consumer/retail space from everyone concerned about safety and privacy. If it were me I would find it comforting to hide between Alphabet and Amazon sized skirts…


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