On June 6th, President Donald Trump gave that first announcement of what he is calling “infrastructure week,” a week wherein he plans to focus attention on the need to modernize the nation’s critical infrastructure. One of the points President Trump made was that he has apparently lost confidence in the ability of the FAA to bring about the changes that it would need to modernize. According to the President, “The previous administration spent over $7 billion trying to upgrade the system and totally failed… a total waste of money, $7 billion plus.” That is why he announced a plan that would move air traffic control in the United States away from the Federal Aviation Administration and begin a process of privatization.
This move might do well for retail and delivery companies. The biggest snag is that there is no unified system in place to track all the individual drones which would be making deliveries. Currently, both the FAA and NASA are working on regulations and plans on how best to integrate commercial drones into daily usage without causing undue harm to other commercial air traffic. Unfortunately, the government’s plan won’t be ready sometime in 2019.
On May 31st, during a conference in Fargo, North Dakota, Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao discussed the problems of integrating commercial drone traffic. “The integration of drones into our national airspace will be the biggest technological challenge to aviation since the beginning of the Jet Age,” said Chao. Rather than let rely solely on the Federal Government, her idea is put the testing and experimentation in the hands of local municipalities.
By putting drone integration into the hands of local governments and business could empower private industry to find a safe method of drone tracking much more quickly than the federal bureaucracy. This could also, in turn, create new jobs and be less costly to taxpayers overall.