New Trump Policy Leads To More Drone Testing?

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New Trump Policy Leads To More Drone TestingOlivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

According to an article published by Recode, it looks tech giants like Google and Amazon, could soon partner and begin testing drones in more cities and states thanks to a new policy put forward by President Donald Trump.

These and other experiments still must obtain the blessings of the federal government, but the new effort — to be officially unveiled by Trump at the White House — aims to speed up the arrival of more drones that can aid law enforcement, monitor crops, study traffic and more.

Under current rules, tech giants are allowed to operate commercial drones in the United States — but only under very specific circumstances. Their unmanned aircraft must be flown within a pilot’s line of sight, for example, and those pilots must obtain licenses. Commercial operators also are restricted to flying only during daylight hours. Their craft is limited in size, altitude, and speed, and pilots are generally not allowed to fly drones over people.

Sometimes, companies can obtain waivers to those rules from the Federal Aviation Administration; CNN, for one, recently obtained limited permission to fly its drones over crowds for reporting purposes. Typically, though, the process takes years to complete, and the backlog of applications at the FAA is only growing in size.

To that end, Trump’s policy memo issued Wednesday aspires to streamline the process. Soon, city and state leaders will gain the ability to partner with a commercial drone operator — from Silicon Valley or elsewhere — on a pilot project, from delivering packages to monitoring oil pipelines. They would then petition the federal government to relax some of its existing commercial drone rules. Continue reading about the White House partnering on new pilot projects.


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