FAA Seeks Industry Partners to Advance Drone Technology

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Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell took advantage of the recent FAA UAS Symposium in Baltimore to announce a partnership with qualified commercial companies, reports AUVSI.org. The FAA will be tapping into its expertise regarding drone integration safety work at UAS test sites.

Activities will include functions like geofencing and night time operations, and situations involving flying over people. Drone capabilities such as operations beyond the pilot’s line of sight, and testing the aircraft’s ability to sense and avoid obstacles will also be put to the test.

Although National Drone Safety Awareness Week is in April, Elwell stressed the importance of always flying safely for the growing UAS community. “As we move towards integration,” he said, “it’s not the stuff of technology, nor development, nor application – it remains all about safety. Safety should remain fundamental to our collective foundation…If it’s not safe, it’s not going to fly.”  

Remote identification was cited as an example of an aspect of the industry that keeps everyone safer. “Without remote ID, there will be so safe, secure integration into the National Airspace System,” agreed FAA UAS Integration Office Executive Director Jay Merkle. Incorporating the issue of safety into a thriving commercial drone atmosphere was a prominent theme at the Symposium.

Summing up the mood of the meeting, PrecisionHawk CEO Michael Chasen said, “We have started to see mass deployment of drones, today” noting that they are ready to take on more commercial work. The drone workforce has not yet taken to the skies, but Chasen believes, “I can tell you, we are right there on the precipice.”  

June 6, 2019

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