The commercialdrone industry in the U.S. hasnt heard much from the President-elect about his plans for rulemaking that will impact their business and global competitiveness.
Last month, Associated Press broke the story thatTrump is interested in privatizing air traffic control, wresting that responsibility from the Federal Aviation Administration and handing it to a nonprofit chartered by Congress.
But we still dont know what his take might be when it comes to drones, which operate in lower airspace.
Drones, of course, could be exceedingly useful to real estate companies, like Trumps own, in terms of delivering aerial inspections and security surveillance around properties. So one would expect Trump to have a solidunderstandingof their potential, along with major players in the commercial drone industry domestically.
In August, the FAA enacted its Part 107 regulation,which provides national and universal rules around the commercial useofunmanned aerial vehicles that weigh up to 55 lbs.
Meanwhile,NASA has been working with a range of tech companies including Precision Hawk, Verizon (the parent company of TechCrunch), Gryphon Sensors, Airware, Flirty, SkySpecs, ne3rd, Harris/Exelis, Unmanned Experts to develop drone traffic managementsystems to keep drones from colliding with each other orcritical infrastructure.
We do know that Trump has chosen Elaine Chao as Transportation Secretary. Aveteran of the Department of Transportation, herduties will include oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration and other offices like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Now,aviation and drone industry insiders are eagerly waiting to see who will join Chaos team asFAA administrator.
This week, adrone industry trade group called the Commercial Drone Alliancesent the Trump transition team a letter with some policy and personnel recommendations. The letter encouragedTrump to hire commercial drone experts into the new administration.
According to the co-executive directors of the group,Lisa Ellman and Gretchen West, who are both attorneys with the law firm Hogan Lovells, the industry group is hoping Trumps FAA will prioritize the following:
- Rules that allowdrones to fly for commercial purposes:over densely populated areas; beyond the visual line of sight of a pilot or operator;and at night, all without special waivers from the federal government.
- An approach that involves multiple agencies insolving problems and setting rules around various drone-related problems such asaircrafttraffic management, privacy, spectrum use and safety.
- Government-industry collaboration, like the FAAs efforts that convened drone industry executives and policy makers in the fall for a Drone Advisory Committee meeting.
The government must make it easier for everyone to participate in the regulatory process, Ellman says.