Let it not be said that Congress was lax in promoting innovation and protecting individual privacy. This seems to be the background to the Drone Innovation Act introduced by Congressman Jason Lewis (Minnesota, 2nd District). The vast majority of users are happy flying their drones below 200 feet and staying within whichever jurisdiction applies.
Tell us the rules to follow (and don’t bug us thereafter)
Many drone operators were searching for the rules they were expected to adhere to. Even though drone ownership and use were expanding rapidly, there were gray areas in the law. You were lucky if you did not get caught, although it was never clearly defined what the rules were. The Drone Innovation Act is meant to blow away that fog and help create an innovative environment.
The new bill involves private industry – an area where most drone innovation takes place outside the military. Local governments and industry will work together for 18 months, and a report will eventually be submitted. Hopefully, this will clarify issues of limitations and restrictions, integrate UAS into city environments and help in traffic management. Privacy, right of way and freedom of use are matters that will (possibly) get resolved.
Nothing is perfect – keep an open mind
Are there issues with the bill? Yes, of course, there are. Privacy requirements will force drone operators to stay 200 feet above private property. This may push drones into airspace reserved for helicopters and may restrict the areas where they can fly. A professional drone pilot recently spoke of doing 55 rooftop inspections after a hailstorm in Denver. These were done faster and more safely as compared to physically climbing each roof. Congress must ensure that such useful and legitimate activity is not restricted. Luckily, a review is built into the bill, and all of these issues can be taken up.
Stop talking and get flying
We can legislate drones till the cows come home. But then nothing would ever get done. It is far better to get used to them, see the issues that emerge and then work on what needs to be restricted and where compromises can be made. Luckily, the proposals we’ve seen so far follow this route.
Focus seems to be on discovering what needs federal action and what does not. Big governments tend to create rigid rules. Vigilant drone operators can ensure that the rules – when they are finally framed – ensure safety and privacy but leave scope for innovation and growth.
David King Chief Technical Officer
Serving as the Chief Technical Officer. Mr. King oversees the activities of the VP, Simulation Development, Director, Orlando Operations and their respective teams, which are located at AEgis’ corporate headquarters in Huntsville, Alabama and Orlando, Florida office.
David joined AEgis Technologies as Director of the Simulation Development Group. During that time, David helped formulate the direction of AEgis’ software development efforts to ensure maximum reusability, thereby speeding ongoing development while reducing costs. His focus is technology transfer to commercial products and product development. The Simulation Development Group develops an Image Generator which is fielded on more than 4000 UAS training systems, has developed an extensive library of vehicle and human models and hundreds of venues and cities around the globe.