Good morning everyone, and thank you for becoming a member of us right here today. I hope you had a fantastic vacation, and I need to wish you all a really Happy New Year.
For 50 years, the Consumer Electronics Show has been the place where expertise meets everyday life. In the previous, that wouldn’t be a spot the place you’d expect to meet somebody from the FAA.
But, with its eager embrace of drone know-how, CES has soared into the frontier of aviation. And which means this is exactly where we must be.
We have a whole FAA group staffing a booth down in the drone marketplace. They’re obtainable to reply questions and get any suggestions that attendees have to offer. I encourage you all to stop by for a go to.
For me personally, this is my second straight year visiting CES. And I even have to let you know, I discover the array of products on display to be just as spectacular as I did a year in the past. Maybe even more so.
There is cutting-edge innovation all around us: Artificial intelligence. Virtual actuality. Wearables. Digital imaging. And, in fact, drones.
Since my final visit right here, the story of drones has continued to be a narrative of revolution and evolution.
Revolution in the know-how and how it’s being used. And evolution in the greatest way we, the FAA, are approaching integrating this new entrant into the National Airspace System.
Our problem is to search out the proper stability the place security and innovation co-exist on relatively equal planes. I don’t suppose it’s an exaggeration to say we have achieved extra towards this objective up to now 12 months than we did in all earlier years combined.
We labored with trade to determine the first set of comprehensive rules for flying small unmanned plane.
We established a Drone Advisory Committee and held our first annual unmanned aircraft symposium.
We’re researching everything from how to detect rogue drones to managing future drone visitors.
And we’re redesigning our web site to make it more user-friendly for shoppers.
With so many individuals channeling so much vitality toward innovation, it’s exhausting to foretell what the subsequent nice technological breakthrough within the drone field might be. But one factor is for certain: our challenges are solely going to get more sophisticated.
The sheer number of drones getting into our airspace is a case in point. Just like final yr, drones have been one of the hottest present objects this past vacation season.
But in distinction to lots of vacation items, this one is clearly not a fad.
Indeed, our latest aerospace forecast estimates that there might be as many as 7 million drones bought within the United States by 2020. That’s about 2 ½ occasions the inhabitants of the state of Nevada.
And the tempo of change is breathtaking. It looks like somebody is coming up with a new method to make use of drones every single day.
Just this week, the town of Henderson and the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems broke ground on a brand new drone testing vary located near Nevada State College.
With each know-how and innovation blazing forward at warp velocity, we all know that as regulators, we’ve to lean forward. We should method our challenges with the same type of creativity and open-mindedness that is fueling the drone revolution.
We additionally know that for us to obtain success, we can not dictate from above. We should work in close collaboration and partnership with the industry and these that fly unmanned aircraft for both recreation and business purposes.
So as a substitute of telling the drone trade and drone operators what they can’t do, we’re serving to them do what they need to do – whereas making certain they function safely.
That’s the approach we took with the small unmanned plane rule.
The rule, which took effect in August, enables people to fly drones for non-hobby functions without getting particular authorization from the FAA – supplied they operate inside certain parameters.
As lengthy because the operator earns a Remote Pilot Certificate, he or she can fly a registered drone weighing less than fifty five pounds, in the course of the daytime, as much as four hundred feet above ground stage in uncontrolled airspace.
With the FAA’s permission, drone operators can fly in managed airspace. And drone operators in search of to conduct expanded operations – at night time, over folks, or beyond the pilot’s visible line of sight – can request a waiver.
In the 4 months since this rule went into effect, greater than 30,000 people have started the Remote Pilot Application process. About 16,000 have taken the Remote Pilot Knowledge Exam, and almost 90 % have passed.
The subsequent step on this evolution is to allow small unmanned aircraft to be flown over people underneath particular circumstances.
As a lot of you realize, we’ve been working diligently on a proposed rule to allow simply that, building on the inspiration from the advisory rulemaking committee we convened final spring.
Allowing unmanned plane to fly over people raises security questions due to the danger of injury to these underneath in the occasion of a failure.
It additionally raises safety issues. As drone flights over folks become increasingly commonplace, think about the challenge of an area police officer at a parade trying to discover out which drones are correctly there to photograph the festivities – and which may be operated by individuals with more sinister purposes.
The process of working with our interagency partners to reconcile these challenges is taking time. In addition, conferences carried out with trade stakeholders as part of the rulemaking process have raised a number of points.
But you might have my steadfast commitment to doing all I can to advance this effort. And we will be looking to our industry companions to develop more ingenious ways to ensure drones can fly over folks with out sacrificing security or safety.
And further down the street, we’re going to implement rules that may permit routine unmanned plane operations beyond the pilot’s visual line of sight.
This must contain all stakeholders in framing challenges and finding solutions drove a pair of necessary new initiatives final 12 months.
One was the formation of the Drone Advisory Committee, or DAC for short. The other was our choice to carry an annual unmanned aircraft symposium.
We fashioned the DAC final summer time. It’s chaired by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, and its members include representatives from the trade, government, labor and academia.
This allows us to take a look at drone use from each angle, whereas contemplating the completely different viewpoints and needs of this numerous community.
The group held its first meeting in September, and they’ve began work on serving to us decide two essential things:
* What the highest-priority UAS operations are and how trade can acquire entry to the airspace to conduct these operations.
* And figuring out the roles and responsibilities of drone operators, producers, and federal, state, and native officers related to drone use in populated areas.
The DAC’s next meeting might be held here in Nevada later this month – up north in Reno.
A variety of our DAC members may even be taking part within the second annual unmanned aircraft symposium in the Washington, DC, space in March. The symposium is actually the ultimate train in democracy. Anyone who registers has the chance to speak face-to-face with federal regulators and business representatives about laws, research and integration initiatives.
These sorts of frank conversations are important as we begin to deal with the bigger challenges that integration poses. And they’re helping to tell the work that the DAC undertakes.
During the upcoming symposium, these conversations will contact on the intersection of privateness and preemption. The importance of harmonizing global laws so they’re the same if you’re flying in London or Long Island.
And they’ll also touch on the array of recent safety and security dangers related to this pioneering form of aviation.
These risks include users who do not understand what it means to fly safely. People who don’t assume they should be regulated and are determined to operate as they please. And actual dangerous actors, similar to criminals and terrorists, who search to make use of unmanned plane for malicious functions.
Just as there’s a broad vary of dangers, so too is there a broad range of potential instruments to deal with these risks.
One of our most important instruments is schooling. And certainly one of our most important education initiatives is the drone registry that we applied just before Christmas 2015.
In the previous yr, greater than 670,000 drone customers have registered aircraft – including more than 37,000 over the past two weeks of December. All of those folks have acquired our important safety messages which are part of the registration process.
And our B4UFLY app alerts operators to airspace restrictions or necessities in effect in the areas where they wish to fly.
While schooling will at all times be a elementary underpinning of security, typically it’s not enough.
For example, regardless of our training efforts, we’re seeing an growing number of drone-sighting reviews from pilots. We had about 1,800 in 2016, in comparison with about 1,200 the 12 months before.
So we’re working carefully with different authorities companies and a few of our Pathfinder Partners on a drone-detection safety effort.
This involves testing technologies designed to detect unauthorized drone operations close to airports and other important infrastructure, or in unauthorized airspace.
We’ve evaluated a few of these technologies around airports in New York, Atlantic City and Denver, and will be doing additional analysis at Dallas-Fort Worth later this year.
We will use the info and findings from these evaluations to draft suggestions for standards. These requirements will assist inform airport operators nationwide who’re contemplating putting in drone-detection methods.
One of the numerous issues we now have discovered in the course of the previous few years is that when it comes to drones, the future can turn into the present within the blink of an eye. With this in thoughts, we’ve to determine tips on how to manage drone site visitors in airspace that is shared with manned plane.
Toward that end, we’re working with NASA to develop an idea for an unmanned aircraft traffic management system – an effort called UTM.
At the unmanned aircraft take a look at site right here in Nevada, the University of Nevada-Reno helps NASA conduct tests to help this effort.
This past October, they flew – and tracked – 5 drones at the identical time beyond the pilot’s visible line of sight from Reno-Stead Airport. Each drone completed a separate simulated task, including in search of a lost hiker, covering a sporting event, monitoring wildlife and surveying environmental hazards.
Tests like these will assist construct the foundation for managing much greater amounts of drone site visitors in the coming years.
In all of the work we’re doing, we’re not forgetting about the wants of the person client. We’re designing a common web portal that will act as one-stop-shop for all unmanned plane interactions with the FAA.
It will permit drone house owners and operators to register their aircraft, apply for an airspace authorization or waiver, file an accident report and hold abreast of the latest FAA news and announcements about unmanned plane.
It might be designed for desktops, laptops, tablets and telephones, and can serve as the platform for future communication with the FAA as unmanned plane guidelines and regulations evolve.
The progress that we now have made through the past year would have appeared unimaginable not long ago.
It’s a fantastic begin, however it’s only the start.
We know there are numerous necessary points but to be addressed. And we know we can’t do it alone.
We will all the time want the input and experience of all of our stakeholders, so we can craft the best kinds of policies and solutions to the challenges before us.
CES will proceed to be a useful discussion board, the place we can provide and take info, as we work our way down this path.
Thank you for becoming a member of us here today and being a part of this journey.