This past week the Trump administration issued an executive order that requires the government to eliminate two regulations for every new regulation it passes. The goal, one would assume, is to help cut down on government bureaucracy. But will it have unintended consequences? Lisa Ellman, chair of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Group for Hogan Lovells, an international law firm, and co-executive director of the Commercial Drone Alliance, believes it might.
In commentary published on The Hill Ms. Elllman writes that “it is important to realize that some regulations actually enable economic activity, rather than inhibit it. This is counter-intuitive, but critical in the world of commercial drones.”
The concern is that new anti-regulaton policies could impede the developing industry and the ability of the United States to establish a leadership position in that industry. Some argue that the fluid regulatory environment have impeded the industry’s development. While that might be debated, it cannot be debated that the US has been eclipsed by Asian firms in low cost drone hardware (e.g DJI, Yuneec, Autel).
Ellman maintains that industry “needs regulations that enable safe flights beyond the scope of current rules. Otherwise, the industry’s growth will be halted. ”
For the industry to truly take off, we need rulemakings from the FAA that broadly authorize these types of operations in a way that is safe. The FAA is working on these rulemakings now, and the White House should encourage their timely release.
While some regulations are overly limiting, other regulations enable economic growth. The Trump administration can move quickly to design and implement a sensible regulatory framework for unmanned aircraft systems that promotes innovation while protecting the public interest, in order to maintain our nation’s competitive edge, fully exploit the incredible public interest benefits of this technology, and move into the next generation of unmanned flight.
Let’s use rules to remove bureaucratic red tape, and safely propel the industry forward.
It is a strong and compelling argument that the administration should listen to. There are a number of American firms that are beginning to take the lead on the software side of the equation with sophisticated cloud based data analytic processing that can deliver important business intelligence for a variety of vertical markets.
The FAA moves slowly. This requirement will only serve to potentially further slow them down. As Elllman notes regulations can also be enabling. Whenever there is a lack of guidance and direction, there is risk and, consequently, reluctance. You can find the full text of Ms. Ellman’s article here.