America is experiencing rapid growth in new Drone/UAS markets being driven almost entirely by the private sector, with tens of thousands of companies and professionals working to commercialize their ideas in an array of applications, with only minor assistance from federal, state and local agencies, universities and others. This emerging marketplace is capable of creating brand new industries, generating millions of jobs, and being a catalyst for sustained innovation on a massive scale, boosting the global competitiveness of U.S. companies, and generating billions of dollars in new GDP.
The Inflection Point
We are at an inflection point, however. America may lose its leadership to other nations. To accelerate growth, the Drone/UAS sector must be free to rapidly innovate and experiment, within a highly safe but adaptable regulatory environment. The combination of a stifling, confusing and overly burdensome FAA regulatory situation and the lack of common UTM infrastructure will continue to impede and possibly extinguish the ability for the U.S. to lead. Without addressing these two major issues, large private sector capital inflows -- the jet fuel needed to sustain explosive sector growth -- may not materialize.
The cost to implement advanced UTM infrastructure with features such as precision navigation, datalink, BVLOS, dynamic geofencing, automated compliance monitoring, privacy protections and self-funding -- what ADS Infrastructure Partners refers to as “ UTM-2” -- will require several billion dollars of up front capital investment. The federal government will not contribute any of this capital, but can facilitate creation of the Public Private Partnership model.
Once established the “Delegated Regulatory Organization” will streamline regulations, address safety and privacy concerns, reduce market risks and greatly advance the needed capital inflows, for both infrastructure and sector entrepreneurs.
ADS Infrastructure Partners has introduced a novel framework that will provide solutions to these issues and encourage much greater and more timely private sector investment. A Delegated-Regulatory Organization, or DRO, is recommended to assume from the FAA the vast majority and burden of Drone/UAS Sector regulation and oversight and, most importantly, to accelerate sector collaboration and promulgation of new rules. The new DRO authority sought would be granted through a special act of the U.S. Congress.