Millions More Drones Will Be Flying Above Your Head by 2020

drone flying
Alex Salcedo—Getty Images/iStockphoto

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a hobbyist drone!

Looks like drones are the new hoverboards.

The number of drones circulating overhead is expected to triple in the next four years, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s aerospace forecast for 2016 to 2036. The FAA estimates hobbyist and commercial drones in the U.S. will increase from 2.5 million to 7 million by 2020.

Recreational drones alone are expected to hit 4.3 million by 2020, and to ensure they don’t cause problems, pilots must register with the FAA. So far, 400,000 people have. On the commercial side of things, agriculture, insurance, real estate, and photography are expected to use them for business needs.

It’s unclear how this will mesh with bans (or proposed bans) in cities across the country, including in Chicago, New York, and Syracuse, among others. “The number of small UAS [unmanned aircraft systems] forecasted is highly uncertain and is dependent on the regulatory structure ultimately adopted,” the report reads. “Once a final rule for small UAS is published, they will become more commercially viable than they are today.”

This year’s hottest tech device will put you back a bit more than a hoverboard, though: the FAA estimates drones will range in price from $2,500 to $40,000.

Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at


Dear MONEY Reader,

As a regular visitor to, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The MONEY Team