Monday afternoon, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta spoke with NPR’s Robert Siegel about safety and privacy issues in regulating commercial drones. Mr. Huerta is very articulate as he addresses privacy and safety concerns. He is, and certainly should be, the CSO (Chief Safety Officer) and CPO (Chief Privacy Officer) for the Commercial Drone Industry, but someone is still missing. Where is the CEO, the individual who will evangelize the industry? Who will speak to the great number of new jobs which could be created? Who will speak to the social good which will follow the emergence of commercial drones? Who will balance Huerta with the need to move as quickly as possible so that the leadership to this new wild wild west belongs to the United States? The answer isn’t clear, but it is likely that the corner office won’t be found at the FAA.
Here are some highlights of the interview:
On the difference between model aircraft and drones
Model aircraft are generally used by hobbyists, they’re much more limited in range and they don’t have the same performance characteristics.
On whether a person can shoot down a drone 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 on… 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?
Here’s the story and the audio interview: