The Safe DRONE Act of 2017 is being introduced by four U.S. senators in a bipartisan bill designed to advance the development of the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry and ensure the U.S. keeps pace in the development and implementation of the technology. The Safe DRONE Act of 2017 is being introduced by U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner, D-Va.; John Hoeven, R-N.D.; Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.; and Dean Heller, R-Nev.
There are several Sections to the Bill however, in regards to Hobby and Recreational use the following is being introduced before Congress.
Some of the Key Points of The Safe DRONE Act of 2017:
- Develops a Trained UAS Workforce. Directs the Secretary of Transportation to designate a consortium of Community and Technical Colleges aimed at expanding the capacity of those colleges to train students for career opportunities in the UAS industry, including maintenance and repair, flight operations related to specific applications and data analysis.
- Coordinates Federal UAS Spectrum Policy. Establishes an inter-agency working group, with a broad array of stakeholders, tasked with developing a cohesive federal policy to address the near-term and long-term communications and spectrum needs to facilitate safe integration of UAS into the national airspace system.
- Advances Unmanned Traffic Management. Directs the Secretary of Transportation, in coordination with NASA, to develop an implementation plan within one year to achieve full operational capability of UAS traffic management.
- Enhances UAS Safety and Security. Establishes an inter-agency working group involving relevant federal security agencies to develop recommendations for enhanced safety and security of expanded small UAS operations beyond visual line of sight and over people, and requires the FAA release rules within one year of enactment.
- Provides UAS Registration Authority. Gives Congressional authorization for FAA to continue registration and marking requirement for small UAS to promote safe and responsible use, but provides certain exemptions for the model aircraft community.
- Extends Research Opportunities at UAS Test Sites. Extends Congressional authorization of FAA-designated UAS test sites through FY 2024, and allocates $14 million in federal funding for research and development through the test sites.
- Supports Emergency Operations Guidelines. Emphasizes Congressional support for clearly defined FAA rules allowing for civil and public operators to utilize UAS in assisting emergency response operations, such as firefighting, search and rescue and post-disaster infrastructure restoration efforts.
- Continues Development of UAS Industry. Exempts rules primarily related to UAS operations from the President’s “one-in, two-out” Executive Order to allow for continued development of the UAS industry through establishing new federal rules for operations.
The full text of this bill can be found here.