Future Trends

Industry Leaders Discuss Slow Development of Drone Technology in US

Aviation regulations

Industry Leaders Discuss Slow Development of Drone Technology in US

Catherine Cahill, director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration, says the United States is lagging in granting permissions for drone research and testing, hampering commercial development and endangering human fliers. She noted that her office only received Federal Aviation Administration clearance to evaluate such aircraft in February despite a decade of effort, significantly impacting its use by the private sector.

According to Cahill, ACUASI has been competing with other drone test sites to be allowed by FAA to conduct beyond-line-of-sight flights. The agency had sought to verify that the technology would not threaten airports and the national airspace.

Cahill was a panelist at a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on March 30 alongside Wing CEO Adam Woodworth, who told lawmakers that Australia has become more favorable to drone innovation because of “predictable and pragmatic” regulations. Woodworth explained that such policies originated in the U.S. but were adopted earlier in Australia, allowing his company to conduct commercial delivery services, FedScoop reported Friday.

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