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New Legislation Would Clear Commercial Drones for Takeoff

WASHINGTON (May 12, 2014) In response to the announcement that Sen. Cory
Booker (D-NJ) has introduced the Commercial UAS Modernization Act to create a
temporary rule to allow commercial drone operations in the United States, the
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation today issued the following
statement from Vice President Daniel Castro:
Every day the FAA spends drafting rules for commercial drones, gives other
countries with more innovation-friendly regulatory policies an opportunity to pull
further ahead in the race to lead in the development of this emerging technology.
Since the FAAs final rulemaking is still several years away, we need a temporary
solution to let U.S. drone operators cut through red tape. Todays proposed
legislation brings us closer to that goal.
The Commercial UAS Modernization Act takes a number of concrete steps to cut
through existing barriers and allow commercial drone operations in U.S. airspace
while continuing to protect the public. These include testing, certification, and
insurance requirements.
While the rules this legislation proposes are stricter than what we would hope the
FAA adopts in its final rulemaking, establishing rules now rather than later will allow
the U.S. drone industry to continue to develop.
Importantly, the Commercial UAS Modernization Act creates a research and
development program that allows for data collection and analysis on a variety of
different unmanned operations that would not be allowed by the FAAs proposed
rules, such as detect-and-avoid, command-and-control, autonomous systems, and
beyond line-of-sight operations. This program will further expedite integration of
commercial drones into U.S. airspace by allowing the FAA to identify safety
standards and develop key milestones.
Congress should move quickly to debate the Commercial UAS Modernization Act to
ensure that U.S. authorities can write informed rules and the U.S. commercial UAS
industry remains competitive.