Since President Obama took office in 2009, developments in aviation, sensing, and software technology have powered a revolution in unmanned flight. In the next decade, the burgeoning commercial drone industry is projected to generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and, by 2025, could support as many as 100,000 new jobs.
Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is announcing new steps, sustained by public and private support, to promote the safe integration and innovative adoption of unmanned aircraft systems across the United States. These announcements build on the Administration's efforts over the past seven and a half years to support the safe integration of unmanned aircraft into the highly-complex network that comprises the National Airspace System, including: air navigation and air traffic control facilities, airports, technology, and the appropriate rules and regulations.
Most notably, these announcements expand on the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)'s "Small UAS" rule announced earlier this summer to provide national guidelines for the operation of non-recreational unmanned aircraft under 55 pounds.
Key actions announced today include:
$35 million in research funding by the National Science Foundation (NSF) over the next five years to accelerate the understanding of how to apply UAS to beneficial applications. This will include areas such as monitoring and inspection of physical infrastructure, smart disaster response, agricultural monitoring, the study of severe storms, and more;
A broad range of actions by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to use UAS to support search and rescue operations;
A $5 million down-payment by the state of New York to support the growth of the emerging unmanned aircraft systems industry across New York; and
A collective commitment made by UAS industry associations to implement a broad educational effort around privacy best practices for users of UAS technology, among other private-sector commitments to support UAS technologies.
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