Some highlights from the testimony before Congress yesterday by Brendan Schulman of DJI. I think he's talking about us!
Summary from Dronelife:
Schulman’s spoken testimony asked for consideration of the increasing proliferation of state and local laws, many of which limit commercial drone operations. His written testimony
went further, asking legislators to reconsider a “micro” category, and asking that lawmakers move forward on expanding regular BVLOS flight, flight over people, and flight at night. “Research and rulemaking priorities should focus on rules that enable the broadest range of beneficial applications that can be achieved within today’s technological capabilities. For example, a rule for routine part 107 night operations would enable search and rescue operations during critical hours when time is of the essence. That’s just one example of an immediate benefit that can be realized through nothing more than rulemaking,” writes Schulman. “Delays in the rulemaking process will have a negative economic impact, and curtail public safety operations, including those that save lives.”
Schulman points out that while technology features such as geofencing offer safety options, they aren’t designed to be used as a sledgehammer solution. “The notion that airports and drones never mix is an oversimplification,” he points out. “We have many customers doing important work at airports, enhancing the safety of the national airspace system. Similarly, our live geofencing system can help prevent drones from entering wildfire locations, but we also know that firefighters are using our drones to keep themselves safe and to help fight fires. Completely disabling a drone in such locations would result in a net detriment to public safety.”
“Here is the lesson we have learned that only comes with actual operational experience across hundreds of thousands of customers: while geofencing is a great feature that helps prevent inadvertent operations, it will always require a balanced approach involving exceptions. Requiring drones to simply turn off when they are near airports is not the right solution to safety concerns.”
Schulman’s testimony points out that identifying a single technology in rulemaking is a mistake, locking the industry into a soon to be outdated solution. “…locking in any specific technology mandate will discourage DJI and our colleagues in the industry from continuing to rapidly develop new safety technologies,” he writes. “A requirement to implement the best technology available today discourages manufacturers from developing the even better safety technologies of tomorrow.”
Finally, Schulman emphasized that recreational operators should not be forgotten in the rush to support commercial applications. “Of key importance to the future of innovation in our industry is maintaining a pathway for people to experiment with technology on a personal level,” he points out. “Today’s hobbyist is tomorrow’s inventor, and tomorrow’s inventor is next year’s technology industry pioneer.”