From an op-ed in the Washington Post by Gary Shapiro, the head of the Consumer Electronics Association. Good to see leaders in the overall technology industry recognizing the commercial potential of civilian drones.
With its history of aggressive innovation, the United States should be a leader, not a laggard, in adopting new technology. This should be especially true with drones, which have so much potential in such diverse fields as moviemaking, newsgathering, agriculture, defense and public safety. Just consider how great U.S. companies such as FedEx, UPS, Dominos andAmazon have changed how we get products. If drones are to be a part of breakthroughs in distribution, shouldn’t we want that innovation to occur here? We need the spin-off jobs, industries and benefits that drones will provide.
We cannot wait years for Congress and the FAA to approve regulations governing drones in our airspace. If we do, other nations will leapfrog us as innovators. Prolonged delay in the face of rapid technological change also means that rules risk being outmoded the day they’re issued. What is needed as soon as possible is a clear and straightforward policy framework that fosters innovation in this emerging industry.
In November, the FAA issued a road map laying the groundwork for integrating drones into commercial aviation. This is an encouraging sign, but it is not enough. Drones will transform the way we live. They can boost the economy and create thousands of jobs. All it will take is for the government to get out of the way and allow innovators to do what they do best.
Read the rest here.