Press Releases

Sen. Warner Applauds Administration Announcement on Unmanned Aircraft Systems

In the next decade, the burgeoning commercial drone industry is projected to generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy

Aug 02 2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) applauded the new steps put forward today by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to promote the safe integration and innovation adoption of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) across the United States. Virginia is home to one of six FAA-approved sites where researchers are testing the safest and most effective ways to incorporate UAS into the existing airspace. Sen. Warner has been a strong supporter of research and investment in unmanned systems, including driverless cars, drones, and unmanned submersibles.    

“Unmanned aerial systems have the potential to totally revolutionize our economy and way of life. On an experimental basis, drones are already helping to transport medicine and supplies to underserved and remote communities, supporting first responders in fighting wildfires and mounting search-and-rescue efforts, boosting agriculture and environmental protection, and much more. We need to be looking at how we can more broadly and safely integrate drones into American airspace, both right now and for the future,” said Sen. Warner. “Today’s announcement is another important step forward in realizing the enormous potential of unmanned aerial systems, and will help speed up our development and adoption of this technology, which still lags behind other countries.”

Key actions announced today include:

  • $35 million in research funding by the National Science Foundation (NSF) over the next five years to accelerate the understanding of how to intelligently and effectively design, control, and apply UAS to beneficial applications.  This will include areas such as monitoring and inspection of physical infrastructure, smart disaster response, agricultural monitoring, the study of severe storms, and more;
  • A broad range of actions by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to use UAS to support search and rescue operations, to augment manned aircraft operations, and improve government processes around technological adoption;
  • A collective commitment made by UAS industry associations to implement a broad educational effort around privacy best practices for users of UAS technology, among other private-sector commitments to support UAS technologies.

 More information on today’s announcements is available here.