Senators look to boost safe drone use in new legislation

The FAA recently announced that it had received 1 million registrants through its drone owner website, designed by CSRA. Photo by Andrew Turner/Flickr.


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New legislation introduced Friday would grant the Federal Aviation Administration the authority to require registration and marking of small drones, bringing the emerging technology a step closer to widespread use.

The Safe Drone Act of 2017 aims to further the development of unmanned aircraft systems and help clarify the safety and privacy concerns that cities and states must address as they begin to embrace the possibilities proffered by the now-affordable technology.

The bill was co-authored by Democratic Sens. Mark Warner, Va.; John Hoeven, N.D.; Catherine Coretz Matso, Nev.; and Republican Sen. Dean Heller, Nev.

The bill would require NASA and the Secretary of Transportation to create an implementation plan for UAS air traffic management, due within a year of the bill’s passage in addition to establishing a working group to recommend federal policy for future communications.

It also sets plans to establish an interagency working group including the FAA and DHS to discuss safety and security recommendations. The FAA would release proposal to modify drone regulations within one year of the bill’s passage that include “operations over people, operations beyond the visual line of sight of the operator, operations at night, and operations of multiple unmanned aircraft systems by a single remote pilot.”

In keeping with the goal of expanding drone development, the bill also proposes increased efforts to train students for careers in UAS and $14 million in federal funding funding for research and development of drones at test sites.

Read more on the introduction of the new legislation on StateScoop.

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drones, Senate, uas