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4 Reasons Why Airspace Link Joined the Small UAV Coalition

By Michael Healander posted 12-04-2019 09:37


A Partnership for Safety & Innovation with McGuireWoods Consulting, Amazon Prime Air, Wing, Intel, Kespry, PrecisionHawk, Verizon, Airmap, T-Mobile, AGI, Flirtey, DRONEcourse, Percepto, Aeronyde, Yamaha, Loveland Innovations, Airspace Link.

The Small UAV Coalition is a partnership of leading consumer and technology companies who believe that U.S. leadership in the research, development, production, and application of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will benefit consumers in all walks of life. The Department of Transportation’s economic report regarding UAS innovation suggests there are hundreds of use cases for such technology. As a group, we support and advocate for a range of law and policy changes that will not only embrace, but encourage, the growth of the UAV industry. These include measures to:

  • Permit the operation of small UAVs beyond visual line-of-sight.
  • Support the development of infrastructure to safely manage the widespread use of low-altitude airspace.
  • Enable broader UAS access to commercial mobile services and unlicensed spectrum vital to the safe and widespread integration of UAS.
  • Embrace the carriage and delivery potential of UAV technology in a wide array of capacities, ranging from humanitarian aid to commercial operations.

We believe that in order to realize the vast economic potential and consumer benefits possible through the integration of UAVs around the country, our government must implement thoughtful regulations that reflect and anticipate the rapid growth of the industry. Ultimately, these policies must enable, rather than hinder, its progress. As a Coalition, we are working to resolve existing policy and regulatory barriers that inhibit small UAV development, sales, job creation, and services. Under a new and forward-thinking regulatory framework, these facets of the UAV industry have the potential to revolutionize our economy and benefit consumers across the United States and around the globe.

Why we joined: Airspace Link provides UAV solutions for federal agencies (e.g. FAA), state & local governments and drone oriented businesses, all while keeping citizen-voice at the forefront during regulation and ordinance creation processes. While Airspace Link may not agree on every approach and issue, we strongly support the mission of the UAV Coalition.

The Coalition is advocating for risk-based regulations which will allow for the safe and expedited integration of small UAVs into the national air space (NAS). The Small UAV Coalition is working with policymakers and regulators to achieve these objectives, ultimately allowing for the safe commercial operation of small UAVs in the foreseeable future.

  1. Public Interest Concerns: Perceived safety, privacy, nuisance, and other public interest concerns could derail or delay the work of the Coalition. Legislators and regulators often react unpredictably to new technologies and, all too often, choose political expediency over sound policy. The Coalition works to educate lawmakers, regulators, and public interest groups that safety is always of utmost concern, and that UAS operators and users will respect reasonable expectations of privacy. Finally, the Coalition was an active participant in the NTIA multi-stakeholder process on privacy and expects to continue its work to ensure consumers’ privacy.
  2. Roles and Responsibilities of Federal, State and Local Governments: The Coalition advocates for a national standard in place of the existing and growing patchwork of municipal and state laws and has aligned with like-minded organizations to oppose State and local efforts that would seriously hinder the industry’s development while intruding on the FAA’s regulatory authority. The Coalition supports technical solutions like remote identification, tracking and an unmanned traffic management system. The Coalition also supports UASIPP as a means to further study these issues in a tangible and impactful way.
  3. Expanded Domestic Operation of UAS: The Coalition pursued a detailed and forward-looking legislative proposal with Congress as it endeavored to reauthorize FAA programs in 2018 and worked closely with numerous committees, including the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committees, to secure provisions that will create opportunities for additional and expanded commercial UAS operations in the United States and promote renewed global leadership in this technology. Importantly, the Coalition worked with lawmakers to secure provisions that give the federal government the necessary tools to life the hold on UAS rule-makings. Accordingly, the Coalition expects the FAA to now move forward with regulations to enable routine expanded commercial operations, including flights over people, beyond the visual line of sight, and carry property. Among the initiatives the Coalition championed are provisions that will: 1) Expedite the development and implementation of an unmanned traffic management (UTM) system. 2) Give the FAA the flexibility needed to regulate all UAS, including to impose remote identification and tracking requirements. 3) Enable federal law enforcement to conduct tailored countermeasures operations with due consideration to the ongoing safety of the national airspace and privacy and civil liberties. 4) Establish a process to develop consensus industry standards in lieu of a protracted type and airworthiness certification process. 5) Increase transparency in the Part 107 waiver approval process.
  4. Future: In 2019, the Coalition will pursue additional legislation and regulations to further advance the continued growth of the commercial UAS industry in the United States, including finalizing and implementing the FAA’s pending remote identification and tracking rule-making. These efforts will include work with the FAA and Congress to continue to expand UAS integration efforts to accommodate beneficial use cases outside of the current Part 107 framework, including package delivery, and operations of drones weighing over 55 pounds.

The Airspace Link team and eco-system partners are excited to be a supporting member of the coalition and to be working with Michael Drobac, Senior Advisor, Federal Public Affairs, Gregory Walden, Senior Advisor, Federal Public Affairs, Gregory Guice, Senior Vice President, Federal Public Affairs, Amanda Armistead, Senior Vice President, Federal Public Affairs, Casey Duggan, Assistant Vice President, Federal Public Affairs, and Lauren Stroupe, Research Associate, Federal Public Affairs.