On October 25, US President Donald Trump issued an executive order which gives local governments the authority to allow drone tests over crowds and for long distances. The move is expected to speed up the development of new regulations in order to boost the industry’s progress, especially as players like Amazon are pushing to use drones in their delivery services.
“In order to maintain American leadership in this emerging industry here at home, our country needs a regulatory framework that encourages innovation while insuring airspace safety,” said Michael Kratsios, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy US Chief Technology Officer.
The new order is the White House’s first step towards allowing the use of drones in commercial activities. In the last few years, drones have been adopted as a form of domestic entertainment, but initiatives like Amazon’s have shown their revolutionary potential in other industries.
Drones have been adopted as a form of domestic entertainment, but initiatives like Amazon’s have shown their revolutionary potential in other industries
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has long been keen to transform the delivery industry with drone technology. The company’s R&D department has been working on Bezos’ futuristic plan, best known for outlining delivery services on the moon, since 2013. But it was in December 2016 that the e-commerce giant trialed its Prime Air drone delivery in Cambridge, UK for the first time.
With Trump’s new order, Amazon could begin the process of turning its proposal into a reality.
According to the document signed by Trump, the measure will also help to “enhance the safety of the American public, increase the efficiency and productivity of American industry and create tens of thousands of new American jobs,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
The news came after a federal advisory panel failed to provide the US Federal Aviation Administration with a recommendation regarding regulation for drones. Safety and security are their chief concerns.
Now, the option to test drones will “provide policy makers with the data they need to bring about the future of American aviation”, Kratsios said.
Meanwhile, tech developers are investing heavily in drones in order to secure a prominent position in the market when the order comes into effect.