In response to new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data indicating an increase in drone sightings, Brian Wynne, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), says irresponsible UAS operations underscore a need for the FAA to finalize its small UAS rules and enforce existing regulations more aggressively.

“AUVSI supports stricter enforcement of careless and reckless operators and those who violate restricted airspace. Stricter enforcement will not only punish irresponsible operators, it will also serve as a deterrent to others who may misuse the technology,” Wynne says.

In the meantime, he says the FAA needs to prioritize the completion of small UAS rules, which would create a level playing field for all UAS operators. Once the rules are finalized, he says UAS consumers will not be able to fly without oversight or education.

Wynne says AUVSI has been working closely with the Academy of Model Aeronautics and the FAA on the ‘Know Before You Fly’ campaign to educate newcomers to UAS technology about where they should and should not fly. “Safety is a top priority for the industry and a shared responsibility for all UAS stakeholders. It’s critical that we continue to work together to ensure the safety of the airspace for all aircraft – manned and unmanned.”

AUVSI supports the safe and responsible integration of UAS in order to unlock the tremendous potential the technology holds while helping to boost local economies and create jobs. An economic impact report from AUVSI found that the UAS industry would add more than 100,000 jobs and $82 billion to the economy in the first 10 years after integration into the national airspace system. The world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of unmanned systems and robotics, AUVSI represents more than 7,500 members from 60-plus allied countries involved in the fields of government, industry and academia. AUVSI members work in the defense, civil and commercial markets.