WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) -- Two U.S. senators on Tuesday offered up a bill that would provide temporary regulation framework for commercial drone use in the United States.
"There is so much potential that can be unlocked if we lay the proper framework to support innovation in unmanned aircraft systems," Booker said in a statement. "But right now, the [United States] is falling behind other countries because we lack rules for the safe operation of commercial UAS technology. The Commercial UAS Modernization Act sets up clear and immediate rules of the road, helping to lay a foundation that will allow us to make cutting-edge progress in a rapidly emerging field."
The Federal Aviation Administration bans widespread commercial use of drones but allows businesses to apply for case-by-case exemptions. The restrictions have prompted companies such as Amazon and Google to rely on testing sites in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
Passage of those regulations, however, could take several years, the statement says, noting the FAA "has taken some encouraging early steps to safely integrate UAS technology into American airspace, but other countries have outpaced the [United States] in developing and finalizing safety rules that allow commercial unmanned aircraft systems to operate."
The Commercial UAS Modernization Act would provide basic guidelines to fill in during the period in which the FAA finalizes its rules. The bill would also create a deputy administrator position to oversee the FAA's integration of commercial drones into U.S. airspace "while also streamlining regulations that currently slow industry's ability to innovate new aircraft technologies," the statement reads.
"We're on the frontier of a whole new era of aviation, when remotely piloted aircraft will improve crop production, provide valuable aid for first responders and even deliver packages to our doorstep," Hoeven said in the statement. "We need to design safe pathways for the UAS industry to deliver these benefits to consumers, and our bill, through the FAA test sites, does just that."