Drone-makers launch advocacy group

Drone-makers launch advocacy group

Drone manufacturers are launching a new advocacy group as federal regulators work toward plans to integrate unmanned craft into the national airspace.

The Drone Manufacturers Alliance will push for policies that emphasize innovation and safety for people who operate small commercial and recreational drones.

The coalition will primarily focus on issues affecting smaller aircraft.

“There are significant economic and social benefits to drone operations in the U.S., and industry must work with policymakers to ensure a safe environment for flying,” said Kara Calvert, director of the alliance, in a statement on Monday. “The Drone Manufacturers Alliance believes a carefully balanced regulatory framework requires input from all stakeholders and must recognize the value and necessity of continued technological innovation.”

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is developing a broad plan for the safe integration of private drones into the national airspace.

The agency proposed a rule last year to allow the routine use of certain small commercial drones in the aviation system. The rule is expected to be finalized this spring. The FAA has also required all small-drone users to register on its website.

The new alliance of drone manufacturers includes 3D Robotics, DJI and GoPro – all three of which previously belonged to the Small UAV Coalition – as well as Parrot SA. Calvert said the new coalition will have a narrower focus on issues that specifically pertain to manufacturers.

The group will closely monitor the FAA rulemaking as well as a bill to reauthorize the agency that is moving through Congress, though the alliance is still working to develop official policy positions.

“By highlighting innovation and emphasizing education, we intend to work with policymakers to ensure drones continue to be safely integrated into the national airspace,” Calvert said.