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Trump Orders Easier Drone Testing

On Oct. 25, 2017 President Trump signed an executive order making it easier for drone companies to test new drone technology.  Who will receive regulatory waivers?

October 29, 2017, Ted Broomfield, staff reporter – lawinformation.info.

On Oct. 25, 2017 President Trump signed an executive order making it easier for drone companies to test new drone technology. The order is seen as positive for leading drone companies to develop their technology at an increased pace. Leading drone companies include tech giants Google and Amazon.

The executive order requires the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to establish an unmanned aircraft system (“UAS”, commonly known as a drone) pilot program.

The goals of the pilot program are to (1) test models of local and state government involvement in development of Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) regulation; (2) encourage drone operators to develop and safely test new technology; and (3) inform the development of FAA regulations and guidelines.

Within 180 days of issuance, the Secretary of Transportation is ordered to enter into agreements with a target of five (5) state and local governments. The order specifies that those agreements should be effective ninety (90) days after the agreements are entered into. The order contemplates that those agreements will include participation of private sector companies.

The order states that existing FAA waivers shall be applied to the agreements. The waivers reduce regulation and make testing of drone technology easier.

Govtech.com reported that Google subsidiary Wing.com was “encouraged” by the order.
Additionally, Govtech.com reported that Gur Kimchi, Vice President of Amazon Air said “Amazon supports the administration’s efforts to create a pilot program aimed at keeping America at the forefront of aviation and drone innovation.”

In San Francisco, the hometown of lawinformation.info, the City approved a drone policy on September 21, 2017 that allowed the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to use drones over public watershed areas. City officials are investigating using drone technology for other applications.

What’s next?

Agreements with local governments that include private company partners are expected to be signed in early 2018.

Sources:

Trump’s Executive Order: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/10/25/presidential-memorandum-secretary-transportation

Govtech.com: http://www.govtech.com/fs/automation/Trump-Creates-Path-for-Drone-Testing-with-Executive-Order.html

SFPUC: https://sfpuc.sharefile.com/app?/#/share/view/s590b1718dac4005b

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