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3 Takeaways From Trump’s Drone Testing Directive

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The White House’s new drone testing directive will rally state, local and tribal governments to oversee sites that will serve as incubators for getting commercial unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, ready for takeoff in the U.S., with the goal of clearing up the existing regulatory framework and gathering input from a variety of stakeholders.

The mission of the directive issued Wednesday is to more thoroughly vet the public safety and security risks tied to the use of drones, readjust federal rules for operating drones based on the new information, and ultimately get more commercial drones ready to take to U.S. skies, according to the administration.

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“There’s still a gap in the FAA’s assertion of what their jurisdiction is when it comes to small UAS,” Blank Rome LLP attorney Sean Pribyl told Law360. “They have claimed jurisdiction from the grass up. In the meantime, localities and states have implemented their own patchwork of drone laws. For developers and clients in our world looking to invest in this space, they’re less willing to make those big investments for drone programs if there’s uncertainty on which regulations apply.”

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“It’s important to see how broad [this pilot program] is beyond just collaboration with the states because it involves consultation with Homeland Security, Defense, and the attorney general [and] U.S. Department of Justice level on if there are security risks,” Pribyl said.

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“3 Takeaways From Trump’s Drone Testing Directive” was published in Law360 on October 26, 2017.