WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. to examine the growth of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), commonly referred to as “drones”, in the United States, including the potential economic benefits of drone operations, and the progress of steps taken to facilitate the development of the industry through the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-95). The hearing included consideration of safety and privacy issues surrounding the operation of drones in the United States.
Watch the video of the hearing here.
Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV
U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
- The Honorable Michael Huerta
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
- Dr. Missy Cummings
Director, Humans and Autonomy Laboratory
Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Duke University
- Mr. Henio Arcangeli
Vice President, Corporate Planning & New Business Development
Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA
- Mr. Chris Calabrese
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
by Kelsey Atherton, Pop Sci, March 6, 2013
Yesterday morning, an Alitalia pilot reported seeing a remote-controlled aircraft near New York’s JFK airport, where he was landing. The drone was flying about 4 to 5 miles west of the airport at an altitude of about 1,750 feet, and it came within just 200 feet of the Alitalia plane, the pilot said. … But was it legal?
…Law is slow to catch up to new technology, so drones are not currently regulated in U.S. air space. The FAA is in the process of picking drone-testing sites, which will be used to help develop domestic drone rules. Until then, unmanned aircraft are governed by model airplane rules, and model airplane rules are pretty lax….
For full text of this article, please visit A Drone Flew Within 200 Feet Of A Commercial Jet. How Legal Was It? | Popular Science.
by Kelsey Atherton, Popular Science, February 15, 2013
…most Americans are not terribly fond of the idea of their neighbors flying cameras around and taking pictures of them in their backyards. The problem is that, right now, there is no explicit federal guidance prohibiting this. … according to testimony by Dr. Gerald Dillingham, civilian drones are governed by the same rules that apply to model aircraft–which is basically no rules at all. … Dr. Dillingham, director of civil aviation issues in the Government Accountability Office, testified that while the Federal Aviation Administration has a clear safety mandate, it doesn’t have one for privacy. So it would fall to Congress to decide which governmental body–the FAA or some other organization–should draw up privacy regulations. ….
For full text of this article, please visit Congressional Hearing Offers A Sneak Peek At The Future Of Domestic Drone Rules | Popular Science.
by Rebecca Boyle, POPSCI, February 12, 2013
On a hazy day last January, an unmanned aircraft enthusiast piloted his camera-equipped drone in the vicinity of a Dallas meatpacking plant, cruising around 400 feet in the air. To test his equipment, he took some photos of the Trinity River with a point-and-shoot camera mounted to his $75 foam airframe. When he retrieved the remote-controlled aircraft, he noticed something odd in the photos: A crimson stream, which appeared to be blood, leaking into a river tributary. …On Dec. 26, a grand jury handed down several indictments against the owners of the Columbia Packing Company for dumping pig blood into a creek. … Under a new law proposed in the Texas legislature, sponsored by a lawmaker from the Dallas suburbs, this type of activity could soon be criminal. …
Texas House Bill 912–and similar laws under debate right now in Oregon and elsewhere–are driving a burgeoning debate about how to use and control unmanned air systems, from an AR.Drone to a quadcopter. The Federal Aviation Administration is in the process of drafting new rules governing unmanned aircraft in civilian airspace, including military-style aircraft. But in the meantime, plenty of cheap, easy-to-use aircraft are already popular among hobbyists and, increasingly, activists and law enforcement.
For full text of the article Even Hobby Drones Could Be Made Illegal In Texas | Popular Science.
- Meet Your Neighborhood Drones (blogs.sfweekly.com)
- The Lone Star State Has No Need for These Picture-Taking, Privacy-Invading Drones (betabeat.com)
- Some Worried “Eyes In The Sky” See More Than They’re Supposed To (baltimore.cbslocal.com)
- From Predators to tacocopters: welcome to the future (abc.net.au)
- Some states seek to curb use of drones by police (cbsnews.com)
USA Today, February 7, 2013
SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle’s mayor on Thursday ordered the police department to abandon its plan to use drones after residents and privacy advocates protested. Mayor Mike McGinn said the department will not use two small drones it obtained through a federal grant….The decision comes as the debate over drones heats up across the country. Lawmakers in at least 11 states are looking at plans to restrict the use of drones over their skies amid concerns the vehicles could be exploited to spy on Americans.
For full text of the article, visit Seattle mayor ends police drone efforts.
- Seattle mayor ends police drone efforts (seattletimes.com)
- 5 Homeland Security Bots Coming To Spy on You (If They Aren’t Already) (Wired.com)
Disclaimer: These links were collected and accessed on April 8, 2012. This list is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather is a short bibliography of recent articles on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV/ sUAV) and drones, with a primary focus on the legal and policy issues surrounding their use within the United States.
FAA LEGISLATION AND REGULATION OF DRONES
- The 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (H.R. 658 ENR; P.L. 112-95), signed Feb. 14, 2012, mandates that drones be fully integrated into American airspace by September 30, 2015. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.658: and http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&session=2&vote=00015
- Senate Floor Debate of Conference Report on H.R. 658, FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2012, February 6, 2012: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/SenateSession4969
- Conference Report on H.R. 658, FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2012, Congressional Record Volume 158, Number 16 (February 1, 2012), House of Representatives, Pages H230 – H304, Posted to FAS Website: http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2012/02/faa-uas.html
- FAA requires government and research organizations to apply for authorization before they can operate a drone. The Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS), 76 Fed. Reg. 40,107 (July 7, 2011), available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-07-07/pdf/2011-15494.pdf#page=16.
- Press Release – FAA asks for Public Input on UAS Test Site Selection, FAA, March 7, 2012: http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=13393
- FAA UAS General Information and Webinars: http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/uas
- Timeline for Rule-making (Geiger 2012): https://www.cdt.org/blogs/harley-geiger/2703drone-countdown
- Drones – Privacy Paradox: Privacy and Its Conflicting Values (Video), 2012 Stanford Law Review Symposium, The Center for Internet and Society, Stanford University, February 2, 2012 (video quality of symposium poor, but discussion interesting and includes video of what’s possible to do with drones): http://www.c-span.org/Events/Panel-Discusses-Domestic-Drones-and-Privacy/10737429618 and https://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/multimedia/drones-privacy-paradox-privacy-and-its-conflicting-values-video
- The Impact of Domestic Drones on Privacy, Safety and National Security (Video), Brookings Institute, April 4, 2012: http://www.brookings.edu/events/2012/0404_domestic_drones.aspx
- Robots that fly…and cooperate (Video), Professor Vijay Kumar, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics, GRASP Laboratory, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania, TEDtalks [YouTube], March 1, 2012: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ErEBkj_3PY and links to Kumar’s other YouTube videos:
- Acerman, Spenser. 2011. “Occupy the Skies! Protesters Could Use Spy Drones,” Wired Magazine, November 18, 2011: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/11/ows-drones
- Ackerman, Evan. 2011. “Could Domestic Surveillance Drones Spur Tougher Privacy Laws?” IEEE Spectrum Blog, IEEE Website, December 19, 2011: http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/military-robots/could-domestic-surveillance-drones-spur-tougher-privacy-laws
Law Review Articles
- Drone as Privacy Catalyst, M. Ryan Calo, 64 Standford Law Review Online 29, December 12, 2011
- The Future of Drones in America, Kashmir Hill, Forbes, December 13, 2011
- Are Drones Watching You? EFF, January 10, 2012
- Civilian Drones: Difference Engine: Unblinking Eye in the Sky, N.V., The Economist, January 13, 2012
- Congress Welcomes the Drones, Kashmir Hill, Forbes, Feburary 7, 2011
- Ten Fun Facts About Drones, Kashmir Hill, Forbes, February 9, 2011
- Drones with an Eye on the Public Cleared to Fly, NYT, February 18, 2012
- Ten Things to Do With Your Own Drone, Venkatesh Rao, Forbes, February 20, 2012
- Drones May Set Off a Flurry of Lawsuits, NYT, February 20, 2012
- Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Drones, Foreign Policy, February 27, 2012
- Evolution of Drone Warfare, Foreign Policy, February 27, 2012
- U.S. Unmanned Aerial Systems, by Jeremiah Gertler, Congressional Research Service, January 3, 2012
- Homeland Security: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Border Surveillance, by Chad C. Haddal and Jeremiah Gertler, Congressional Research Service, July 8, 2010
- House of Representatives Unmanned Systems Caucus