According to a new memorandum released by the White House, President Trump will put a new program in place that could potentially accelerate drone testing across the United States. Because of this, we may also see an increase in the number of drone tests, and faster drone commercialization.
The new, The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot program, as it’s called, will let US states and cities to partner with tech companies and draw up at least five trial programs around the country over the next three years. Each program will be subject to revision by the Federal Aviation Administration. These trial programs could potentially be used to test everything from flying drones beyond a pilot’s line of sight to delivering goods at night, according to the Department of Transportation. In return, the government will have access to the data produced by these trials, which it will then use in conjunction with NASA to further develop an air traffic control system for drone use.
The objectives behind the new program, according to Trump’s memorandum, are threefold. The program helps to test different ways of involving local governments into figuring how regulations can be drawn up and then enforced. In addition, it’s also supposed to encourage owners and operators to develop and test “innovative” use for drones. Last but not least, the program is also a test ground for how the government can build out guidelines for drones on a national network of commercial drones.
So far, the US government has taken a very careful approach on how drones can be used an operated. One of the biggest concerns behind drone use is privacy. Since both individuals and companies are able to commercially operate drones in the US, there are heavy restrictions in place. Drone pilots are required to obtain certification, are only allowed to fly drones during the daytime, and have to keep their drone(s) in line of sight .