Aircraft

Small UAV Coalition formed to promote civil and commercial use of small UAVs

The Small UAV Coalition has been formed to promote civil and commercial use of small UAVs (Photo: Shutterstock)
The Small UAV Coalition has been formed to promote civil and commercial use of small UAVs (Photo: Shutterstock)
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The Small UAV Coalition has been formed to promote civil and commercial use of small UAVs (Photo: Shutterstock)
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The Small UAV Coalition has been formed to promote civil and commercial use of small UAVs (Photo: Shutterstock)

As is so often the case when it comes to rapidly evolving technologies, the law is struggling to keep up with the surge in popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In an attempt to pave the way for commercial, philanthropic, and civil use of small UAVs in the US and around the world, a number of players in the field have teamed up to form the Small UAV Coalition.

With 3DR, Aerialtronics, Airware, Amazon Prime, DJI Innovations, Google[x]'s Project Wing, GoPro, and Parrot as founding members, the Small UAV Coalition boasts some heavy hitters that have a vested interest in promoting the commercial and civil use of UAVs. The group is also looking to support recreational use of small UAVs for hobbyists.

To those ends, the organization's main goal is to develop an open regulatory process that ensures "safe, reliable, and timely operation of small UAVs." It is also pushing for regulatory changes to allow small UAVs to be operated beyond line-of-sight with varying degrees of autonomy.

The group classifies small UAVs as those weighing less than 55 lb (25 kg) and which typically fly at an altitude of under 400 ft (122 m) above ground level. They are also powered by rechargeable batteries and can be flown either manually via a remote control or autonomously using an automated program in the UAV.

"Small unmanned aerial vehicles will yield tremendous benefits to consumers in so many exciting and practical ways," said Michael Drobac, executive director of the Small UAV Coalition and senior advisor at Akin Gump, the Washington, DC law firm supporting the organization. "Small UAVs can be utilized for stunning aerial photography, surveying and mapping, advances in precision agriculture, consumer delivery, disaster management, journalism, and to monitor flare stacks and gas pipelines. In addition, the Small UAV Coalition will continue to support safe recreational enjoyment of UAVs for hobbyists and enthusiasts."

Drobac says the civil use of small UAVs will offer many benefits and promote US competitiveness. In addition to the FAA, the group will need to work with the FCC regarding the communications frequencies used by UAVs and the government and Congress on privacy issues.

Source: Small UAV Coalition

6 comments
Mark A
Cool technology but am I the only one getting tired of these things?
Brian M
@Mark A - don't worry their batteries will run out of power soon!
Ejike Onochie
Exciting times upon us already lots of usefulness !
Simon Dale-Firstpersonview
Excellent news!
Bob Flint
Technically they are remotely manned or (woman) so shouldn't the term be RMAV. There has to be a person or human responsible for each of these critters, launching, flying, and landing safely. The difference compared to the hobbyist flying their aircraft, and the crop of multi rotors with simpler controls and needing to curtailing the camera intrusions.
MD
Re. comment about unmanned or remotely piloted. We can get into a world of acronyms and 3-letter abbreviations. ANY aircraft (or aircraft system) that does not carry a person (usually a pilot) which is commercial, government, military or otherwise not for sport or personal enjoyment in intent, is an unmanned aircraft (UA). The use of the word Aircraft, implies that it falls under the jurisdiction of those bureaucrats who control things aviation. Generally UAV, with the vehicle tacked on the end is a colloquial form of the technical jargon, but vehicle is not well defined by legislation, so it may not be deemed a proper term. Then we get into the classes of Unmanned Aircraft, those who have a pilot performing second-by-second control, or those who operate without immediate supervision and may be deemed to have a certain degree of autonomy. If there is a pilot who has immediate control RPV (remotely piloted vehicle may be used, if there is not a pilot (but merely a supervisor) then UA will be called an unmanned autonomous aircraft (but UAA doesn't seem to be widely used.) As we have not developed sentient intelligence in machines there is actually no common use of completely autonomous physical systems at all, there is always some sort of human overseer (or rule based emergency shut-down, prior to the operator getting back from a lunch break, etc). Especially in the realm of aircraft rushing around our heads. Even a RPV generally has a degree of autonomy to overcome time delays in control signals. So UA, RPV, UAA, UAV or Drone (that term really should remain in use only for military targets). Technically, professionals may split hairs, but if they are used for enjoyment and hobby-related fun, they are merely Radio controlled Aircraft (RC). If they are used professionally and you do not have government permission as a controller or operator, then you are flying them illegally. If you do have permission then they are all UA's as one component in a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System), no matter what level of autonomy your variant possesses. oops you TLDR'ed is good on ya.