Though the bill takes a pretty cautious view of how to integrate drones into the airspace, the government clearly understands that the drone industry is looking abroad to test its systems given the limitations of what’s possible in the U.S. right now.
“The FAA Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2012 contained provisions directing the FAA to take steps toward safely integrating UAS into the NAS by September 2015,” the Transportation Committee writes in its summary today.
“Among other things, Congress directed the FAA to create test ranges and regulations for UAS. However, the FAA has not yet fulfilled its mandate. As a result, major U.S. companies have taken some of their early UAS research and development activities to other countries because FAA regulations are too burdensome.”
The article provides some additional details about the bill. Representatives from Amazon and Airware seem to be optimistic that the risk-based focus leaves room for BVLOS which is of course essential for many commercial operations.