Published On: Wed, Jan 16th, 2019

Drone Land USA – A Realistic Scenario

The US wants to ease the regulations for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles – with far-reaching consequences.


Drones delivering Amazon packages. Drones that transmit direct and live images of danger zones to TV channels. Drones that show pictures of otherwise confusing crowds. Drones that convey the progress of a project to the contractors. Drones that rapidly provide organs for transplantation. And drones that can do it all at night. In the US, these scenarios seem to be no longer a dream of the future.

Just a few days ago, the Minister of Transport, Elaine Chao, announced that the current regulations for the use of drones should be relaxed. Thus, in the midst of the crippling shutdown, the minister turns confidently to the technology sector, because technology should be rapidly improved and expanded to ease the regulations. Investments are needed.

Unmanned drones are currently not allowed to fly over crowds in the United States because of the risk of falling and subsequent injury. Nocturnal missions require special permits, which may fall under the new rules. Chao claimed to promote the commercial use of drones; she spoke of “considerable economic benefits”. And, “That will help our nation remain a global leader in the technology industry.”

In order to prevent the use of drones from escalating, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing to categorize unmanned units. Missiles under 25 kilos are therefore considered “low-risk” and should not be subject to major restrictions. These may then be used over crowds. As for the heavier devices, manufacturers will have to prove in the future that they can not easily hurt people in a crash. This concerns, for example, propellers, which have already caused numerous accidents.

Larger and heavier drones should not be allowed to fly over a larger number of people in the future. The use of unmanned devices near airports remains prohibited. It was only around Christmas that drones in the UK had paralyzed air traffic in London-Gatwick – with far-reaching consequences. Especially smaller devices are not visible on the radar, which causes great problems.

The new proposal of the Minister of Transport has of course also called critics on the scene. The fears range from large-scale and easy control of citizens to unmanned missiles that can carry bombs. According to the US draft, drone pilots should undergo intensive training; In addition, the Trump government wants to register drones or the pilots, so that a later identification is possible. However, the Bloomberg news agency is not expecting a quick implementation of the Chao proposal: at the earliest in May 2020, it could be time for the government, but also the improved technology to play its part.

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