President Trump Directs Drone Integration Pilot Program to Accelerate Low-Altitude Operations

President Trump Directs Drone Integration Pilot Program to Accelerate Low-Altitude Operations

By Thomas L. Gemmell

Today President Trump directed the Department of Transportation to launch a new initiative to test and validate advanced operations for drones in partnership with state and local governments. The program, called “Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program,” is designed to provide regulatory certainty and stability to UAS operators, local governments and communities.

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Crowded Skies are Coming

Crowded Skies are Coming

By Tyler Short

Google recently completed a series of tests related to multiple unmanned aircraft systems operating in the same airspace. The tests were carried out by Google and organized by the FAA and NASA. With an eye towards creating a world where delivery by unmanned aircraft systems is a reality, Google has created a traffic management platform that has the capabilities of automatically plotting the paths of multiple unmanned aircraft systems and then updating the paths while in mid-flight. This platform may be the key to operating several unmanned aircraft systems in the same area.

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FAA UAS Regulation Expands as FAA Implements First Drone-Specific Airspace Restrictions

FAA UAS Regulation Expands as FAA Implements First Drone-Specific Airspace Restrictions

By Michael B. George

Common sense might tell you that it’s a bad idea to operate an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) over U.S. military bases. Either way, it will soon be illegal to fly a drone over a military facility. Effective April 14, 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will restrict drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of 133 identified military facilities.

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FAA to Release Facility Maps to Assist UAS Operators

FAA to Release Facility Maps to Assist UAS Operators

By Bradley R. Gardner

Beginning on April 27, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will make available to Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operators a facility map designed to make applications for Part 107 waivers easier. Pursuant to Part 107, a UAS operator may apply for a waiver of certain FAA-imposed restrictions such as daylight operation, line-of-sight and operation within a certain airspace. By giving UAS operators access to facility maps, the FAA is trying to streamline the Part 107 waiver process by making UAS operators aware of areas in which waivers are likely to be granted (or denied). Operators that require a waiver will be able to consult the facility map to determine if the proposed operating location is in an area that might conflict with airport or other air traffic operations, such as flights directly under the approach or departure paths of a local airport. 

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Autonomous Delivery Robots Rolled Out in Virginia

Autonomous Delivery Robots Rolled Out in Virginia

By D. Rockwell Bower

Effective July 1, 2017, Virginia will become the first state to allow robots to deliver packages via ground delivery, utilizing sidewalks and crosswalks. 

As safety and regulatory concerns have prolonged the introduction of drone delivery services from Amazon and Google, ground-delivery robotics companies have worked with legislators in several states to demonstrate the safety and efficiency of ground-based autonomous delivery robots. The new legislation allows robots to roam autonomously, so long as they are supervised by the delivery company from a remote monitoring system and do not exceed 10 miles per hour or 50 pounds. Virginia’s new law may be amended by local municipalities to regulate how robots will operate locally, including speed limits and potentially prohibiting robots entirely. 

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