AUVSI 2018: Keynotes explore significance of unmanned economy (video)
With the focus on the unmanned economy dominating the first day of Xponential in Denver, the opening keynotes highlighted the range of potential benefits that the technology could bring to the local, state and federal levels.
Among them was Steven Bradbury, general counsel at the US Department of Transport, who detailed that ensuring the correct level of regulation is necessary to provide the foundation for the safe completion of missions.
Of unmanned systems, Bradbury said that there were now more than one million small UAS users registered with the FAA and that the technology had ‘great potential’ and is a ‘transformational tool’ for US prosperity.
Regarding certified users, he said that the expectation was for the numbers ‘to balloon’ in the coming year.
However, Bradbury cautioned that a single instance of a major accident occurring between a manned aircraft and unmanned platform, or indeed the use of a UAS in a terrorist attack, would be a ‘significant setback’ and such concerns ‘could not be ignored’.
Interestingly, as the demand for new regulation to cater to the technology increases, there are examples of where existing rules can be adapted to meet the need. Under Part 298, which rules air taxi transport, unmanned cargo delivery businesses could seek permission to operate, as long as it meets FAA and government approvals.