So-called avigation easements would enable state and native governments to create drone toll lanes within the sky. Not solely does this threaten to create a fancy and expensive system for business drone operators to navigate, it additionally straight challenges federal management of the airspace. That problem may result in what former FAA Administrator Michael Huerta known as a “patchwork quilt” of drone rules throughout the nation: and would undermine federal efforts to ascertain clear rules based mostly on security.
Drone Federalism isn’t new – but it surely’s a problem that crops up repeatedly, on each side of the aisle. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein’s “Drone Federalism Act” was among the many first, launched in 2017: most lately, Republican Senator Lee has introduced new versions. These efforts, says AUVSI, are a catastrophe – one that might kill the trade.
AUVSI has an extended document of difficult efforts to weaken federal authority of the airspace, together with opposition to federal and state makes an attempt to offer states and/or native authorities the flexibility to manage drones. That is a nonstarter for the drone trade and the rising Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)/Urban Air Mobility (UAM) trade. A patchwork of fifty states with 50 totally different units of guidelines could be a catastrophe for trade, weakening robust federal security requirements and imposing great prices on shoppers and drone operators.
No Drone Toll Lanes
Accordingly, AUVSI vigorously opposes any and all makes an attempt to hurt security and take away airspace regulatory authority from the FAA. That concern puts AUVSI directly at odds with legislative proposals like those from Senator Lee on the federal degree and a lot of state payments presently launched together with proposals in Texas, Louisiana, West Virginia and Mississippi. Some of the state payments, nonetheless, go a lot additional than merely addressing federalism and likewise suggest state and native management although so-called “avigation easements,” or what are basically toll lanes within the sky for drones. This is just not a wholly new idea – it’s derived from a report written by a DC suppose tank – however since its inception, aviation toll lane proposals have been universally opposed by the UAS and AAM industries. The drone toll mannequin is maybe a money-maker for some corporations that wish to get in on the front-end of airspace administration and cost taxes or charges for entry, nonetheless, it’s a poison tablet for the nascent business UAS trade, and the yet-to-be realized AAM market. Taxing trade for entry to low-altitude airspace earlier than the trade has but to have interaction in widespread business operations, and for many corporations, flip a revenue, would kill the trade and its progressive method to revolutionizing enterprise.
Drone federalism, avigation easements, and different efforts by native governments to manage drones in the end damage the communities that they’re making an attempt to guard, in addition to the drone trade. It’s as much as all trade stakeholders to teach governments of their communities – and to make sure that they show protected, helpful, and useful drone use.