White House Expected To Weigh In On Drones
President Obama will issue an executive order regarding drones and privacy issues "any day now," according to a report in The Hill on Monday. Michael Drobac, the organizer of the Small UAV Coalition, which launched last week, said the executive order would aim to satisfy privacy advocates by requiring federal drone operators to make public the size and purpose of their fleets and reveal how they will use any information they collect. The coalition hopes that step will help the FAA to move more quickly toward issuing guidelines for the commercial use of UAVs. Members of the coalition include Amazon Prime Air, Google[x]'s Project Wing, GoPro, and Parrot. Politico also reported in July that the executive order was in the works.
"The Small UAV Coalition believes safe commercial, philanthropic, and civil use of small UAVs will benefit the lives of consumers and promote U.S. competitiveness," said Drobac. "We look forward to working with the FAA, FCC, the Administration and Congress to ensure this industry can flourish." In the group's definition, small UAVs weigh under 55 pounds and typically fly at an altitude of less than 400 feet AGL. They can be flown by a remote operator or by an automated program in the UAV. The coalition is lobbying for rules that will permit the operation of small UAVs beyond the line of sight, "with varying degrees of autonomy."