UPDATE: A memo has been released from Elaine Chao’s office announcing new details about the FAA’s pilot program to allow state and local governments to control their own drone regulations.
The new information has been added to this site, and the big takeaway is that as of yesterday, states have 20 days to submit if they want to participate in the program.
President Donald J. Trump directed U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao to launch an initiative to safely test and validate advanced operations for drones in partnership with state and local governments in select jurisdictions.
The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program implements a directive signed by President Trump, and the results will be used to accelerate the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace and to realize the benefits of unmanned technology in our economy.
The program will help tackle the most significant challenges in integrating drones into the national airspace while reducing risks to public safety and security.
The program is designed to provide regulatory certainty and stability to local governments and communities, UAS owners and operators who are accepted into the program.
(Learn More. 1600 Daily: Everything White House 10/27/17. Courtesy of Congressman Trey Gowdy and YouTube)
In less than a decade, the potential economic benefit of integrated unmanned aerial systems into the nation’s airspace is estimated to equal up to $82 billion and create up to 100,000 jobs.*
The program will help the USDOT and FAA develop a regulatory framework that will allow:
- More complex low-altitude operations
- Identify ways to balance local and national interests
- Improve communications with local, state and tribal jurisdictions
- Address security and privacy risks, and
- Accelerate the approval of operations that currently require special authorizations
“This program supports the President’s commitment to foster technological innovation that will be a catalyst for ideas that have the potential to change our day-to-day lives,” said Secretary Chao.
“Drones are proving to be especially valuable in emergency situations, including assessing damage from natural disasters such as the recent hurricanes and the wildfires in California.”
The pilot program will evaluate a variety of operational concepts, including:
- Night operations
- Flights over people
- Flights beyond the pilot’s line of sight
- Package delivery
- Detect-and-avoid technologies
- Counter-UAS security operations, and
- The reliability and security of data links between pilot and aircraft
Industries that could see immediate opportunities from the program include:
- Emergency management
- Precision agriculture, and
- Infrastructure inspections and monitoring.
“Stakeholders will have the opportunity through this program to demonstrate how their innovative technological and operational solutions can address complex unmanned aircraft integration challenges,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
“At the same time, the program recognizes the importance of community participation in meaningful discussions about balancing local and national interests related to integrating unmanned aircraft.”
Prospective local government participants should partner with the private sector to develop pilot proposals.
After evaluating all of the applications, the U.S. Department of Transportation will invite a minimum of five partnerships.
In the coming days, the Department will publish a Federal Register Notice with more details about how applications will be evaluated and how the program will work.
For more information: