The Department of Transportation's inspector general has announced that it will conduct an audit of the Federal Aviation Administration’s role in authorizing operations of small unmanned aircraft systems in U.S. airspace.
The DOT IG said in a memo that it will begin the assessment in November at the FAA's headquarters, at air traffic facilities and airports across the U.S.
The audit will focus on the impact of the agency’s recently-launched Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability for automated airspace authorizations and how the agency coordinates UAS airspace approvals and notifications between airports, FAA air traffic facilities, LAANC service suppliers and UAS operators.
The FAA launched LAANC in April in partnership with the private sector to speed up approval for use of drones in U.S. airspace.
The move comes amid efforts of the agency to address the challenges with the growing volume of requests for UAS authorizations in controlled airspace near airports. Since December 2015, the FAA has processed over 1.1M registrations.
“The continuing growth of UAS within the national airspace system presents challenges for the FAA in maintaining the world’s safest aviation system while fostering innovation,” said the DOT IG.