What are the main concerns FAA Administrator Michael Huerta has about UAVs and regulating them in the US?
UAVs are a difficult area for regulators to tackle and yet the Federal Aviation Administration is under orders from Congress to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into U.S. airspace by September 2015.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta speaks to NPR’s Robert Siegel about writing the rules and what the administration is most concerned with when it comes to the safety of the national airspace.
Here are four points of concern drawn from the interview:
- The difference between model aircraft and UAV
Model aircraft are generally used by hobbyists, they’re much more limited in range and they don’t have the same performance characteristics…
- Whether a person can shoot down a UAV hovering over his property
We do have a lot of laws in the country that are designed to protect property or to protect your privacy. The question that is starting to be asked is, does this technology in any way change that?
You shouldn’t be shooting anything down. What is clear is that you have a right to be concerned about: Is an unmanned aircraft over your property infringing … your right to privacy? And I think that we as a government need to figure out, is there something unique about this technology that would cause us to treat it differently than the constitutional protections you already have?
- How much public concern factors into the rule-making process around UAVs
This is something that is very new to a lot of people. And while a lot of people see great potential, other people — in fact, sometimes the same people — have significant concern about, what does it mean? And what this really argues for is a very thoughtful, a very deliberative, a very consultative approach to how we gradually open up the skies to the use of unmanned aircraft.
- Enforcing regulations on where UAVs can fly
We rely on our inspectors, we rely on the public, we rely on the industry — everyone plays a role in bringing information to us that helps us carry out our mandate.
I think that enforcing any rule is dependent upon the public having a good understanding of what the rules are and every citizen playing a role in working with their government to ensure that the system is safe.
“These aircraft operate very differently and they operate in the same airspace with a wide variety of other users. We see the potential of these and we’re going about it in a very thoughtful and deliberate manner to ensure that it is done safely.”
What do you think?
These are just four highlights from the interview with Michael Huerta. Listen to the full interview on NPR here >