AUVSI Calls for Accelerated UAS Commercialization, Expanded Research

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WASHINGTON — In prepared testimony for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, AUVSI President and CEO Brian Wynne today emphasized the need for the FAA to finalize its proposed rules on small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) with a flexible regulatory framework. He also called for more expanded uses of UAS technology within the context of the final sUAS rule, through the upcoming FAA reauthorization bill or by other means. Wynne further urged for greater coordination of UAS research between industry and government partners.



“The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 established a foundation for government and industry collaboration to advance this emerging sector. As part of this, the FAA is currently working on finalizing rules for commercial and public use of this technology. The agency is also granting permission for limited commercial use on a case-by-case basis under Section 333 of the 2012 act. But more can and should be done,” Wynne said in prepared testimony.



“Despite these positive steps, we need to permit expanded uses that pose no additional risk to the airspace system. Whether within the context of the rule, through the reauthorization or by other means, we need to allow for beyond-visual-line-of-sight, nighttime operations and operations over congested areas. Otherwise we risk stunting a still-nascent industry.”



Wynne also noted that UAS technology is advancing rapidly thanks to collaboration between industry and government, but urged for a flexible regulatory environment that is able to accommodate any and all UAS innovations.



 “For the FAA to continue to keep up with the advancement of UAS technology, it needs to develop a risk-based, technology-neutral framework. By risk-based, technology-neutral, AUVSI means that regulations should be based on the risk profile of a particular UAS operation instead of solely regulating the platform being flown.”



Wynne also praised existing research but pressed for greater coordination among industry and government partners to maximize the impact of these efforts.



”Working in conjunction with industry collaborators, a holistic UAS research and development (R&D) plan that takes into account the work being done at the FAA and other numerous federal entities will enable stakeholders to identify those UAS areas that need additional resources and focus. A comprehensive plan could identify areas where the industry could come forward with new solutions.



“Federal efforts for facilitating the integration of UAS into the NAS are at a pivotal moment. Leadership and coordination with industry and government partners is absolutely critical to ensure the United States regains trailblazer status in this international industry,” Wynne said.



Mr. Wynne's full testimony can be read here.



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The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) — the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of unmanned systems and robotics — represents more than 7,500 members from 60+ allied countries involved in the fields of government, industry and academia. AUVSI members work in the defense, civil and commercial markets.