WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released a statement regarding the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) small drone rule, which goes into effect on Monday, allowing certified commercial pilots to fly unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) weighing up to 55 pounds during the daytime:
“Monday is a big day. I’ve consistently urged the FAA to move forward with regulations to make safe operation of unmanned aircraft in U.S. airspace a reality, and implementation of this new rule is a major step forward. This will allow many small businesses in Virginia and across the country to more cheaply, safely and efficiently harness some of the enormous potential promised by this technology.”
Commercial drones are currently being used in industries as diverse as real estate, agriculture, insurance, energy, and cinematography. The new drone rule makes it less onerous for companies to use UAS to advance their business, as they will no longer need to be granted an exemption from the FAA in order to operate UAS lawfully under federal guidelines.
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.
A 2013 report by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) estimated that the expansion of UAS technology could create more than 100,000 jobs and generate $82 billion in economic activity in the first decade following integration.