International UAS Surveillance Markets Heat Up as American Companies Wait for Guidance

International UAS Surveillance Markets Heat Up as American Companies Wait for Guidance

By William D. Ezzell

No one likes the idea of big brother. But what if big brother is the one writing the check? And not looking at you?

As we previously posted, American UAS companies are vying to compete with Chinese companies in the international UAS military market. Countries around the world are actively building UAS fleets but U.S. export controls have hampered American companies from competing. Foreign competitors continue to challenge the American UAS industry, which could not have been more evident at this year’s China Public Security Expo in Shenzhen, China. 

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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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CNN Receives ‘First-of-its-Kind’ Waiver to Fly Drones over Crowds

CNN Receives ‘First-of-its-Kind’ Waiver to Fly Drones over Crowds

By Thomas Nguyen

CNN has recently received a ‘first of its kind’ waiver associated with its drone operating license with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), allowing CNN to fly its drones over open-air crowds of people at altitudes of up to 150 feet above ground level with no restrictions regarding crowd density. This is a big deal because this waiver sets a new precedent that would now allow operators to fly drones over people. As of today, the FAA has issued 1,317 Part 107 waivers with only seven of the waivers allowing drone operations over people – and, when allowed, limiting those flights to closed set operations and only when the drone is tethered. Further, the waivers limited the flights to a maximum height of 21 feet above ground level. 

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FAA In Search of a Legal Basis For Drone Registration

FAA In Search of a Legal Basis For Drone Registration

By Thomas L. Gemmell

At the end of 2015, the FAA required those operating small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“sUAS”) used for other than commercial purposes to register the UAS and affix a registration number on the aircraft. The registration requirement emerged from an increase in the number of reported near misses involving UAS and was to facilitate the tracking of those who violated general aviation rules and regulations. 

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New Kid on the Block: As US Balks at UAS Export, China Steps Up to Fill the Void

New Kid on the Block: As US Balks at UAS Export, China Steps Up to Fill the Void

By William D. Ezzell

This week, the Wall Street Journal reported on a topic well-known within our UAS industry: China is exporting military UAS systems to many countries, primarily in the Middle East. This includes the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Libya. 

American companies certainly remain at the forefront of UAS technology. In fact, the drones that countries are buying from China epitomize the term “Chinese knockoff.” At first glance, it’s nearly impossible to distinguish the China’s Wing Loon drones from the Predator and Reaper models. 

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