Feds announce drone registration task force participants

Feds announce drone registration task force participants
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Thursday the participants in the task force created to craft a new system for requiring drone users to register with the federal government.

The agency said Thursday that the task force will have 26 members, including representatives from companies like Amazon and Wal-Mart, which have lobbied for the ability to use drones to make deliveries. 

The FAA said the task force would be chaired by the director of its drone integration office, Earl Lawrence, and GoogleX's Dave Vos.

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The panel is being tasked with creating a new registration system for drones due to an increase in the number of pilots who have reported sightings of the devices during flights. The panel is expected to report its finding to Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxAnthony FoxxWeek ahead in tech: Lawmakers turn focus to self-driving cars Six contenders to be Uber's new CEO Obama’s Transportation chief given Super Bowl tickets by Hollywood studio exec MORE by Nov. 20. 

Foxx has said the forthcoming registration system would help to reduce the possibility of midair collisions between drones and planes.

"Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the U.S. aviation system,” Foxx said in a statement when the task force was first announced last week. “It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground.”

The FAA has been in the process of developing rules for commercial drones, but the new rules would also apply to recreational devices.

The agency has faced tremendous pressure from companies like Amazon and Wal-Mart to allow drones to be used for commercial deliveries. Police and other law enforcement groups are also seeking approval to use the technology, and the FAA has investigated several drone incidents where operators took photographs at college and professional sporting events.

Congress required the FAA to legalize drones by Sept. 30 in a funding bill for the agency that was passed in 2012, but the FAA missed the deadline.

The agency has said it is still in the process of crafting the regulations for a broad increase in the use of the devices alongside commercial airplanes, and it has touted the approval of more than 2,000 individual drone flights in the interim.

The members of the task force that is making recommendations on a new drone registration system include: Nancy Egan – 3D Robotics; Richard Hanson – Academy of Model Aeronautics; George Novak – Aerospace Industries Association; Chuck Hogeman and Randy Kenagy – Air Line Pilots Association; Jim Coon – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Sean Cassidy – Amazon Prime Air; Ben Gielow – Amazon Retail; Justin Towles – American Association of Airport Executives; Brian Wynne – Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International; Parker Brugge – Best Buy; Douglas Johnson – Consumer Electronics Association; Brendan Schulman – DJI; Paul Feldman – General Aviation Manufacturers Association; Dave Vos – GoogleX; Tony Bates – GoPro; Matt Zuccaro – Helicopter Association International; Mike Fergus – International Association of Chiefs of Police; John Perry – Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors; Brandon Declet – Measure; Randall Burdette – National Association of State Aviation Officials; Sarah Wolf – National Business Aviation Association; Baptiste Tripard – Parrot; Tyler Collins – PrecisionHawk; Gregory McNeal – Small UAV Coalition; and Thomas Head – Wal-Mart.