Top drone executives from PrecisionHawk, Trumbull Unmanned, AirMap, Measure, Kespry and Airspace joined wireless network executives and venture capitalists for some face to face time with U.S. President Donald Trump.
By all reports, the crowd praised Trump for his efforts to limit government regulation and his support for new technology. “We want them to create new companies and lots of jobs,” Reuters reports Trump told the group. “We’re going to give you the competitive advantage that you need.”
While the wireless executives join many industries in asking the government to reduce regulations, the drone industry needs more government input to increase commercial drone applications. PrecisionHawk‘s CEO Michael Chasen tweeted: “Clear @WhiteHouse believes emerging tech will drive innovation Now we need forward-leaning regulation for drone industry to grow & thrive.” In his discussion, Chasen told President Trump and the assembled group
In his discussion, Chasen told President Trump and the assembled group that the FAA needs “a little more power,” to regulate. “This is the one industry where we actually need a little bit more regulation – because the default is actually limiting what the technology can do,” he said.
Enterprise solutions provider Kespry may have gotten the most played photo. Kespry CEO George Mathew presented President Trump with a Kespry drone, the first drone inside the White House, pointing out the safety features and explaining some of the drone’s uses.
Prior to the meeting, the drone execs met with representatives of the FAA, taking the opportunity to discuss drone regulations.
The meeting comes at a critical time for the drone industry, as two new bills could severely impact drone operators. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s “Drone Federalism Act” would preserve state rights to regulate drone activity. The somewhat deceptively named “Drone Innovation Act” would do much the same thing, allowing states to regulate airspace up to 200 feet in altitude – which would limit all takeoffs and landing. Either of these bills would create the FAA’s nightmare scenario of a “Patchwork Quilt” of drone laws, requiring commercial operators who cross state lines to adhere to different laws in each area.