Friday, September 18, 2015

No Federal Robotics Commission in the offing, but Senator Feinstein wants to regulate consumer drones

Due to Republican recalcitrance to spend money on science-and-technology-based initiatives and general orneriness there is no chance of the Congress approving the creation of a Federal Robotics Commission, as called for here.

But there’s a good chance that some robot regulation will take place if U.S. Senator from California Diane Feinstein’s pending bill, the “Consumer Drone Safety Act,” SB1608, is included as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s Re-authorization bill later this year.
According to a summary of the bill prepared by the Senator’s staff:

“The development of new, highly capable drones available commercially to untrained consumers carries great potential and great risk. While many drone enthusiasts are conscientious, the expanding use of these drones could have terrible consequences if not properly managed.

“The FAA is receiving more than one report per day of unauthorized or dangerous drone activity near airplanes and airports. The Consumer Drone Safety Act would put in place common-sense safety precautions to minimize the risk of a disastrous mid-air collision or crash to the ground.

“Safety Requirements for Consumer Drones

“The Consumer Drone Safety Act calls for new safety regulations on ‘consumer drones,’ which it defines as small civil unmanned aircraft that are manufactured for commercial distribution and are equipped with an automatic stabilization system or a camera for navigation.”

The bill is currently pending in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation..

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