Drone Advisory Committee Now Airborne
At the AUVSI annual conference last spring, the FAA announced that it would establish a Drone Advisory Committee (DAC), organized under the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) federal advisory committee. The goal of the DAC is to help the FAA identify and solve the biggest challenges associated with UAS integration.
Membership of the DAC was announced on August 31, 2016, and the group was formally launched at a public meeting on September 16, 2016. Chaired by Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel Corp., the DAC contains 35 members representing a myriad of interests including UAS manufacturers, operators, and trade associations, traditional manned aviation groups, government contractors, and subject-area experts in academia, and state and local government. The DAC membership list is available here. The diverse membership in the DAC is intended to provide the FAA with a broad cross-section of perspectives on the challenges facing UAS.
As part of his opening remarks at the kick-off event, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta invited the DAC to develop its own to-do list, independently identifying priority issues and preparing recommendations for UAS integration through group consensus.
By the end of the day-long meeting, the DAC had identified two overarching “buckets” of issues that it will need to address in order to facilitate UAS integration.
First, the DAC proposes to identify (a) specific UAS activities for authorization, and (b) a path for achieving authorization (e.g., UAS regulations, standards, and/or certifications). Second, the DAC proposes to define the roles and responsibilities of parties in the UAS ecosystem, including the role of the FAA, industry, and state and local governments on topics like preemption and privacy.
The DAC must now refine these issues for discussion by the soon to be established DAC subcommittee and working groups. Specific topics for likely further consideration include certification; performance standards; software/hardware development and testing; beyond line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations; federal preemption, jurisdiction, and law; privacy; cybersecurity; and autonomous operations. The subcommittee will be comprised of representatives for existing DAC members, members from the original pool of DAC applicants, and others as appropriate to address high-priority issues.
Because of its potential to influence FAA policy, UAS and IoT professionals should monitor the DAC carefully. Indeed, there will be opportunities for non-DAC member representatives to participate in one or more of the DAC subcommittees or working groups.
Link to Wiley Rein Client Alert on DAC Meeting: https://www.wiley.law/alert-FAA-Announces-Membership-and-First-Meeting-of-Drone-Advisory-Committee.