4 of the Biggest Challenges in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles


The business of unmanned aerial vehicles is booming. By 2025, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) predicts that the U.S. drone industry will establish over 100,000 jobs and contribute $82 million to the economy.

While significant growth is expected in this space, that’s not to say there aren’t challenges to address. Concerns around the safety, privacy, security and power of unmanned systems are all important considerations in their long-term success.

What Challenges Do Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Face?


Like recreational drones, commercial unmanned aerial vehicles rely on global positioning technology for navigation. This gives controllers an accurate read on the location of a vehicle, even at a significant distance.

The issue, however, is that the GPS can fail to alert controllers of what’s in the surrounding area. Without the ability to recognize other airborne objects, unmanned aerial vehicles can interfere with the flight patterns of other aircraft and pose potential safety threats.

Geofencing helps to address this issue by creating a virtual fence that drones adhere to. These programmed no-fly zones keep unmanned systems away from restricted areas and heights where they could interrupt manned aircraft activity.


With so-called “eyes in the sky”, unmanned aerial vehicles can collect an abundance of data. In addition to video surveillance, the systems might also include sensors that detect sounds, magnetic fields and chemical composition, among other information.

On a fundamental level, the public can view this collection of data as intrusive, almost as if they are being spied on. These concerns over personal privacy have prompted federal legislation to be introduced.

One example is the Drone Aircraft and Transparency Act of 2017. This proposed act would mandate that commercial drone operators provide details about the use of their technology as well as how they will leverage personal information about individuals.


As unmanned aerial vehicles collect and share data, it’s possible that other sources may attempt to jam or hack its signals. With the fear that sensitive data may end up in the wrong hands, this can create further anxiety and frustrations amongst the public.

RF shielding is one way to ensure greater security of this data in unmanned aerial systems. By building an enclosure around the vehicle, you can reduce transmissions that make its signals more vulnerable to other sources.


When unmanned aerial vehicles are able to stay in flight longer, their economic impact is greater. For instance, they can deliver packages and medicine to more distant places, cover larger stretches of area in mapping applications and efficiently perform infrastructure surveillance.

While advancements in battery and engine technologies are crucial for longer flight times, the weight of unmanned aerial vehicles is also an important consideration. By designing and manufacturing lightweight parts for your system, it’s possible to achieve longer flight times and advance the applications of your technology.

Let Switzer Help Advance Your UAV Project

Unmanned aerial vehicles bring a lot of challenges to the table. With a combination of the right metal parts, you can overcome many of these obstacles and create a more promising future for your drone-based solutions.

At Switzer, we know that manufacturing metal parts for UAVs is a delicate process. That’s why we use chemical etching to create tight-tolerance parts with prototype-to-production capabilities.

To learn more about the benefits of chemical etching in your UAV project, download a free copy of our ebook, 3 Ways Chemical Etching Improves Your Metal Parts.



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