This week, Senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced the “Increasing Competitiveness for American Drones Act of 2023.” The proposed legislation would revamp the process for acquiring waivers from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for drone flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).
A press release announcing the bill said the act would “clear the way for drones to be used for commercial transport of goods across the country – making sure that the U.S. remains competitive globally in a growing industry increasingly dominated by competitors like China.”
If passed, the bill would require the FAA to establish a “risk methodology” that would determine specific levels of regulatory scrutiny for approving BVLOS flights different sizes of uncrewed vehicles.
Moreover, the bill would create an “Associate Administrator of UAS Integration” position and a UAS Certification Unit that would have “the sole authority to issue all rulemakings, certifications, and waivers.”
The legislation has been endorsed by the Commercial Drone Alliance. In a statement, the organization said the proposed law “provides necessary direction to the FAA that will enable beyond visual line of site (BVLOS) UAS operations, which is critical to scaling the use of UAS for use cases ranging from infrastructure inspection and agriculture to fighting wildfires and package delivery.”