Senate Bill Seeks to Advance Traffic Management, Federal Spectrum Policy for Drones

Four senators have introduced a bipartisan bill that would direct the secretary of the Transportation Department to collaborate with NASA to establish within a year an implementation plan to help drone traffic management attain full operational capability.

The Safe DRONE Act of 2017 would also call for DOT secretary to advance the development of a trained unmanned aerial systems workforce through the establishment of a consortium of technical and community colleges that will train students for UAS-related career opportunities, Sen. Mark Warner’s (D-Virginia) office said Thursday.

The measure would create an interagency working group that would be responsible for the creation of a federal policy designed to address spectrum and communications requirements to facilitate the integration of drones into the national airspace system.

Lawmakers also proposed a $14 million budget for UAS research and development efforts and extend congressional authorization of Federal Aviation Administration-designated drone test sites through fiscal 2024.

The legislation would ask Congress to authorize FAA to continue to implement registration requirement for small drones and support FAA policies that seek to facilitate use of UAS in search-and-rescue operations and other emergency response missions.

Warner proposed the bill with John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada) and Dean Heller (R-Nevada).

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