Today, the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) announced the launch of “Drone Prepared,” a multi-state initiative to help lawmakers ensure that their state or locality is ready for the benefits the future of uncrewed and autonomous flight will bring to their communities. 

Commercial drone operations are already providing essential services to the American public and hold immense promise to simultaneously provide workforce, economic, and environmental benefits to the communities where they operate. Examples of commercial drone operations include infrastructure inspections, package delivery, wireless internet and cell connectivity, agricultural surveying and many more. Drones are also being used by first responders to save lives serving search and rescue, firefighting, and police departments across the country. 

Numerous industries are relying on drones for their operations, and significant industry growth is expected in the years ahead. According to the FAA, as of October 2022 there are 869,000 registered drones with over 300,000 of those flown commercially; by 2025, there will be 2.49 million operational drones. 

“State, local, and tribal governments have a key role to play in the growing drone economy and the Drone Prepared campaign provides critical resources for communities to understand the complex, evolving industry and begin preparing in ways that will welcome the industry, and its benefits, to their geographies.” said Michael Healander, President & CEO at Airspace Link, an AUVSI Premium Member. 

To educate lawmakers at the state, local, and tribal levels about how they can prepare for this increase in drones in a way that brings economic, environmental and workforce benefits, AUVSI will engage its robust network of chapters and local advocates. The campaign will also leverage leaders in the industry, build coalitions with diverse partners, publish research, and provide recommendations on industry-backed solutions. 

“In Texas, small business owners and large corporations alike are eager to leverage drones and take advantage of the many benefits they provide. AUVSI Lone Star – and our other chapters throughout the nation – look forward to working closely with lawmakers to implement legislation that fosters the continued growth of this exciting industry,” said Adrian Doko, AUVSI Lone Star Chapter President and CEO of Imperial Aerial, Inc. 

During the 2023 legislative sessions, AUVSI will support proposals in states nationwide to achieve drone preparedness which: (1) Promote drone use for public benefit; (2) Recognize the authority of the Federal Aviation Administration over airspace navigation and safety; (3) Leverage existing laws that already address concerns like privacy and trespass; and (4) Promote technology neutrality. 

Michael Smitsky, Director, Government Affairs at AUVSI, said: “The potential for expansion of commercial drone operations remains tremendous. We welcome opportunities to share with lawmakers how they can unlock scalable, secure and sustainable commercial drone operations that will benefit their communities – while maintaining the highest levels of airspace safety and regulatory compliance.” 

Drone Prepared partners include AUVSI’s Air Advocacy Committee members, including Airspace Link, Echodyne, and Aura Network Systems; the Drone Service Providers Alliance; and Wiley Rein LLP. Learn more about Drone Prepared at droneprepared.org.