This summary of a Fortune commentary by Joe Rinzel, a spokesperson for Americans for a Modern Economy, shows that many Americans are not happy with what they see as restrictive policies and regulations of the FFA.
Many Americans think of drones as futuristic delivery devices for online shoppers that can drop packages from mid-air onto neighborhood doorsteps. But drones’ potential doesn’t stop there.
Recently a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University successfully transported blood samples across the Arizona desert sky via an unmanned aerial aircraft. Blood samples arrived at a hospital and laboratory tests confirmed that they were unaffected by the flight.
But for this technology to one day benefit Americans, policymakers will need to develop drone regulations that provide innovators with certainty about how drones can be deployed.
Current federal regulations prohibit flights after daylight, establish height and speed restrictions, and mandate that in-flight drones remain within the visual line of sight of their remote pilots. The FAA has also indicated that certain legal issues will have to be left under the purview of state and local governments, creating a patchwork of confusing laws for drone developers, manufacturers, and operators to follow.
In other countries, drones are transforming the way urgent care and supplies are delivered.
This month, Switzerland will implement an autonomous medical delivery network, which will feature launching and landing pads across the country. In Rwanda, drone deliveries to health care facilities are delivering life-saving services to their patients. It used to take three or four hours for some doctors to procure blood for urgent transfusions. Now, drones deliver plastic sachets of blood in 15 minutes.
These innovative medical solutions need to be allowed in the U.S. Policymakers must rethink regulations to encourage research and investment in transformative drone technology.