(TNS) — With the speed of technology providing challenges to existing laws, the federal government is trying to get a handle on how to regulate the burgeoning billion-dollar drone industry.
Berks County Commissioners Chairman Christian Y. Leinbach is pushing for local government entities and businesses in the region to play a part of helping decide how unmanned aircraft systems, known as UAS, will be used and overseen across the country.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced in October the details of the federal government’s UAS Integration Pilot Program, which was created for at least five yet-to-be-selected communities across the United States. The program will test and develop ways the public and private sectors can maximize the use of drones, with safety and privacy concerns in mind.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is looking to choose its test locations after the final application deadline on Jan. 4, and officials in Berks County have been working to be one of them since November.
Leinbach said Berks County needs to tell a compelling story of how its public and private sectors would work together on drones, highlighting businesses with both experience flying them and a desire to expand on their use in a less regulated environment, and businesses that recognize their usefulness but have not proceeded because of the regulations.
“If we in Berks County want to be attractive to companies where technology is important, then we have to demonstrate that we care about the technology ourselves, that we are forward-thinking and that we’re willing to do what is necessary to put our community and our businesses in a stronger position than competitor counties here in the commonwealth (of Pennsylvania) and even outside,” Leinbach said.