The new FAA bill paves the way for use of UAVs into commercial US skies, opening up new market opportunities for technology vendors that now operate in the government and defense industry.
The new bill also brings up the issue of applying rules and regulations to prohibit the unlawful use of unmanned systems as well. As a society, we need to make sure that these systems don’t get in the hands of the wrong individual and make sure that these systems won’t be used to infringe upon our personal privacy. In the past, there have been problems with people taking unmanned systems and flying them over people’s backyards to spy on them. The voyeuristic aspect of these systems can be scary and the right steps need to be taken to help ensure that our privacy isn’t violated. In addressing these issues, the new bill states that significant standards will be set for the proper licensing of UAS operators and that the FAA is the governing body that will review the causes of accidents involving UAS technology. As a technology vendor that contributes to the success of these UAS platforms, we will need to adapt our systems to support these new rules and regulations so that only the approved user(s) of the UAS are in control of the platform while in flight. With radio frequency technology, implementing multiple layers of security are required to ensure the effective and reliable delivery of critical communication data. Our frequency hopping spread spectrum technology, for example, provides one layer of security to ensure the proper safety measures are in place for unmanned flights. Furthermore, security measures such as 128 and 256 bit AES encryption over a variety of frequencies and data rates prevent unauthorized access to the signal as well.
While there are plans, rules and regulations still needing to be hammered out, we are very excited to see the new FAA bill get passed as we’ve been hoping for this legislation for quite some time. We expect many challenges, along with a variety of new applications and selling opportunities moving forward. Vendors, like FreeWave, that also design, manufacture, test and tune their offerings will need to adapt to the increased volume of radios being sold for the new commercial UAS platforms. We look forward to continue integrating our radio technology with existing OEM partners and expect new partnerships to form as well. Above all, we want people to know that our technology is proven in the field for nearly 20 years and we will continue to build upon that achievement to help drive the successful implementation of unmanned aircraft systems in our skies in safe, practical and valuable manner.
About the author:
Ashish Sharma is the chief marketing officer and general manager of products at FreeWave Technologies. Sharma brings more than 15 years of experience in the telecommunications industry with a strong background in engineering, business development, product management, strategy and marketing. Sharma earned a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering at George Mason University and a Master of Business Administration degree at the Anderson School of Management at University of California, Los Angeles.
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In my local area (Washington/Baltimore), hobbyist “radio controlled aircraft” already require a license before they can legally be flown. At first reading, it looks like the new rules will dramatically increase entry cost for the hobbyist. This will tend to depress the current manufacturer’s market, at least until they can provide the upgrades that will conform to the new rules.
This is quite interesting.
And it comes along with the notice of the Google auto-pilot car. Does this means that the future will hold automatic pilot for cars and planes?
Software will reach new heights of safety. Indeed this appears to be the start of a whole new market and the way a lot of things are done. I imagine pizza being delivered by a drone! Yikes! :)
NASA said Thursday (March 29) that it will be conducting very low level training and "photographic" flights over the Washington area on April 5. Airspace over the national capital is highly restricted, hence the NASA announcement that it was conducting the flights in conjunction with the FAA. T-38 jets will fly as low as 1,500 feet over the Washington area, NASA said, adding that the "flights are intended to capture photographic imagery." Given the start of safety testing for commercial drones, we have contacted NASA to find out if these flights have anything to do the FAA/NASA testing program for commercial drones. If we get a response, we'll pass it along.