Calling the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) proposed rules for small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) "a good first step,” the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) submitted comments to FAA this week in which the trade group recommended FAA’s proposed rules establish a flexible regulatory framework and allow for beyond-line-of-sight operations and nighttime operations.
AUVSI’s comments urge the adoption of a risk-based, technology-neutral approach to regulation, focusing on the risk profile of a particular UAS operation instead of solely regulating the platform being flown – an approach that has been successful in other countries with growing commercial UAS industries.
AUVSI further advocated for broadening regulations to allow beyond-line-of-sight operations and nighttime sUAS operations, “which are already feasible with current technology,” the group said, adding, “Beyond-line-of-sight operations would allow for farmers to use UAS to cover large fields and gather data that will increase crop yields and save money. Nighttime operations would aid in disaster relief and search and rescue operations that take place outside of daylight hours.”
"This rule represents a good first step in the evolutionary process that brings us closer to realizing the many societal and economic benefits this technology offers," said AUVSI President and CEO Brian Wynne. "However, we need to permit more expansive uses of UAS than those contemplated in the draft rules, otherwise we risk stunting a still-nascent industry, and restricting the many great uses of this technology."
"As written, the rule allows for many uses of UAS, but UAS regulations can, and should, allow more," Wynne said. "Allowing beyond-line-of-sight operations and nighttime operations would open up a whole new world for this technology."
AUVSI supports the safe and responsible integration of UAS in order to unlock the tremendous potential the technology holds while helping to boost local economies and create jobs. An economic impact report from AUVSI found that the UAS industry would add more than 100,000 jobs and $82 billion to the economy in the first ten years after integration into the national airspace system.