On Sunday, the FAA issued the long-awaited set of regulations around unmanned aerial vehicles.

Four years overdue and two weeks after a drone crashed on the White House lawn, the new rules are not as permissive as some had hoped. They forbid flying at night, near airports, over 500 feet, over 100 mph, or beyond a pilot’s line of sight.

Amazon, for one, is not happy. Its Prime Air drone delivery program will have to wait.

When we chatted with some of drone tech’s most bullish investors last year, none of them seemed too concerned about working through the bureaucratic red tape.

However, since then, venture investments in drone tech have plateaued at a steady 7 or 8 deals per quarter, and amount invested has plummeted from a high of $65 million in Q3 2014 to a mere $5 million so far this year.

Maybe it’s too early to jump to conclusions. Or maybe, investors have been waiting to strike until the FAA quits dragging its feet.

What do you think?


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  • Originally published February 17, 2015, updated April 26, 2023