Commercial UAV Expo Europe  

September 3-5, 2024  •  Caesars Forum  •  Las Vegas

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5 Questions about Commercial Drone Regulation that will be answered at Commercial UAV Expo

By Jeremiah Karpowicz

FAA regulation is a critical consideration for commercial drone operators, as these rules shape the possibilities and limitations of their programs. A major challenge when it comes to integrating drones into shared airspace lies in balancing the FAA’s safety focus with the drone industry’s desire for faster innovation, which makes understanding what’s happening with commercial drone regulation in the present and future especially important.

That’s why sorting out the landscape of commercial drone regulation is a topline focus of the Policy Track at Commercial UAV Expo. However, the event will also see regulation explored in various ways across the entire program. Attendees will be able to hear insights from FAA officials themselves, with their insights defining answers to the following key questions that will be fully explored during the event.

1. Will Part 108 prove to be a turning point for the drone industry?

Part 107 was a watershed moment for the commercial drone industry, as it outlined and defined parameters on how and where drones could be flown commercially. Part 108 could prove to be an even more significant development though, as it is designed to fully enable beyond visual line of sign (BVLOS) operations, which has often been cited as the biggest barrier to growth and scale for the technology. What’s in the rule? When will we see it take effect? Who will benefit most from it? A panel of industry and government contacts is set to answer all of these questions and more.

2. How are FAA officials thinking about the present and future of regulation? 

The FAA plays a critical role in the drone industry, as regulations have shaped and defined commercial operations of all types. Recognizing this, the FAA is actively working to integrate and scale UAS operations, with changes coming that will allow companies to conduct advanced operations like BVLOS, over people or at night. But what’s the bigger picture? How is the FAA formulating these crucial updates? What are some of the specific developments and challenges in the rulemaking process that operators need to be aware of? You’ll be able to hear answers to those questions from FAA officials themselves as part of the Drone Policy Update that outlines everything you need to know about FAA regulation.

3. What does it mean to navigate regulation in infrastructure projects?

Navigating the complex regulatory landscape surrounding the use of drones for infrastructure projects is no small task. How have organizations managed to work within the bounds of established FAA rules and processes to stand up enterprise drone programs to augment their routine inspection needs? Did waivers play a role in their success with the technology? From safety considerations to BVLOS operations to working at scale, a session at Commercial UAV Expo will delve into key concerns and strategies to fully realize the potential of drones while maintaining safety and compliance in infrastructure projects.

4. Where do things stand with the potential ban on DJI drones?

Approval of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has impacted how government officials, business advocacy groups, and others are preparing for what could be a dramatically altered business environment for the drone industry. Anyone serious about the technology needs to be able to identify solutions that don’t merely tick the boxes for security and compliance but redefine them, regardless of what may or may not change with what many are calling the “DJI drone ban.” How this legislation will be further defined in the short term and long term is a top concern for drone operators of all types, and updates around this development will be specifically explored in the Drone Security and Counter Drone session, but also across the entire program.

5. When will we see any of these regulatory changes?

That’s a big question that operators and organizations are asking in different ways and on distinct levels, but it highlights why this topic is so critical to the present and future of the entire industry. It hangs over every operator and organization, impacting how stakeholders can move forward with solutions they know will create value. It’s why the opening keynotes on both days are set to feature senior leaders from the FAA that will be able to provide a better sense of that timing and what operators need to be thinking about and actively planning for. 

If you’re interested in learning more about these advances at Commercial UAV Expo 2024use this link register or see the entire conference program conference here.

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