ARLINGTON, Va., — The following statement is attributed to Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association in response to the Federal Aviation Administration’s long-awaited issuance of proposed rules regarding the operation of unmanned aircraft systems:
“We thank the FAA for issuing its proposed rules and providing a path forward for unmanned aircraft to spread their wings and operate safely within U.S. airspace. The FAA itself has acknowledged the ‘pent-up demand for small unmanned aircraft,’ but these proposed rules are only the liftoff stage toward needed final rules. It will be important to strike the appropriate regulatory balance between innovation and safety, and we urge the FAA to expedite this rulemaking action to fully realize commercial drones’ potential as a truly disruptive technology.
“Drones will revolutionize a broad array of consumer and commercial sectors, bringing with them innovative new businesses and thousands of jobs. CEA research forecasts the global market for consumer drones will approach $300 million by 2018 — more than triple our current expectations of $84 million in 2014 global revenues. And if you include accompanying services, the market for drones could easily exceed $1 billion in just five years’ time. But in order to more thoroughly tap the remarkable potential of drones, the FAA must move forward in a timely manner and provide for deliveries by commercial drones — whether that’s as critical as bringing life-saving medications needed in remote areas struck by disaster, or as basic as delivering a gift someone purchased just in time for a birthday.
“Until now, the U.S. has led the world in each step of aviation innovation, always striving to be the ‘first in flight.’ While the U.S. is not the first nation to promulgate rules for drones, we aim to advance a clear and straightforward policy framework that fosters U.S. innovation and safety in this emerging market. Additionally, as the first major supporter of the “Know Before You Fly” campaign, we encourage recreational users of drones to follow the coalition’s voluntary set of safety guidelines.”