Commercial, Regulatory

New FAA Rulemaking Committees Address Drone Integration, Identification

By S.L. Fuller | May 4, 2017
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DJI drone

Photo by Mark Colborn

The FAA said it has formed two new unmanned aircraft system advisory and rulemaking committees during the third meeting of its Drone Advisory Committee May 3 in Herndon, Virginia. One committee focuses on drones in controlled airspace, while the other focuses on drone identification.

Within 12 months, the committee on controlled airspace is tasked with: recommending scenarios encompassing most-desired operations; identifying gaps in research and development to inform integration; and recommending prioritized changes/additions to policies and capabilities to achieve integration.

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The committee on drone identification is slated to begin soon. It should address the concern of being able to identify airborne drones, should they be infringing on safety. Earl Lawrence, director of the FAA’s Office of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration, summarized the FAA’s recent drone-related activities. He said the new committee is a result of continued interagency partnerships, including those with the Homeland Security Dept., Defense Dept., Justice Dept., Interior Dept., Energy Dept. and the Secret Service.

Lawrence said the identification group "is a direct reflection of our work together in our efforts to help resolve important concerns, such as being able to identify UAS." He said it would look into available and emerging technology to "develop evaluation criteria and be able to rate technical solutions that are currently available, or may emerge in the near future.”

Also expected soon is the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence report on UAS airborne collision. The FAA Center of Excellence for UAS Research arm published a final report on drone ground collision last week.

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