Earlier this year I was appointed to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Remote ID Aviation Rulemaking Committee. This is my third Aviation Rulemaking Committee.
From the FAA’s Announcement:
Currently, there are no established requirements or voluntary standards for electrically broadcasting information to identify an unmanned aircraft while it’s in the air. To help protect the public and the National Airspace System from these “rogue” drones, the FAA is setting up a new Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PDF) that will help the agency create standards for remotely identifying and tracking unmanned aircraft during operations. The rulemaking committee will hold its first meeting June 21-23 in Washington, DC.
The group’s membership represents a diverse variety of stakeholders, including the unmanned aircraft industry, the aviation community and industry member organizations, manufacturers, researchers, and standards groups. The rulemaking committee will have several major tasks to:
- Identify, categorize and recommend available and emerging technologies for the remote identification and tracking of UAS.
- Identify requirements for meeting the security and public safety needs of law enforcement, homeland defense, and national security communities for remote identification and tracking.
- Evaluate the feasibility and affordability of the available technical solutions, and determine how well they address the needs of law enforcement and air traffic control communities.
Eventually, the recommendations it produces could help pave the way for drone flights over people and beyond visual line of sight.
On Wednesday, July 19th I participated in a briefing at the United States Senate regarding the legal framework applicable to drones.
The participants in the briefing were:
- Nevada State Assemblyman Elliot Anderson
- Utah Senator Wayne Harper
- Pepperdine Professor and AirMap Co-Founder, Greg McNeal
- Alabama State Aeronautics Bureau Chief John Eagerton
- Heritage Foundation Analyst Jason Snead
The briefing description provided by the Senate staff appears below:
In response to the growing number of drones beginning to be used in communities throughout the country, many local governments and at least 38 states are considering drone legislation this year. Please join us for a discussion of the approaches these governments are taking and how they can work together with the Federal Aviation Administration’s mandate to safely integrate small unmanned aircraft into the national airspace.
The current legal framework for managing the airspace evolved to meet the needs of manned aviation, not unmanned aviation. It will be Congress’ job to establish a clearer, more effective legal framework. Last year, the Senate was asked to consider an aggressive new proposal that would have strictly blocked any state or local ordinance related to drones. This year, Senators Feinstein, Lee, Blumenthal, and Cotton proposed a more affirmative approach – the Drone Federalism Act, S. 1272 – that recognizes FAA’s general authority over the national airspace while also preserving the authority of state, local and tribal governments to issue, or not, additional restrictions on low-altitude drone operations.
On May 31, 2017 I will be speaking at ReCode’s CodeCon. It’s a great event with amazing speakers including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, LA Clippers Owner Steve Ballmer, Senator Kamala Harris, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.
My remarks will focus on how government and industry can partner to accelerate timelines and create a welcoming environment for innovation.
On March 3, 2017 I will be a panelist at the 2017 Stanford Technology Law Review symposium. The agenda appears below:
Regulating Disruption: Responding to Emerging Technologies
All events will be held at Stanford Law School
Friday, March 3, 2017
8:30-9:00 AM – Registration & Breakfast
9:05-9:50 AM – Opening Keynote—Virtual Reality (more…)
At 2:15pm on January 6, 2017, I will be a panelist at the Consumer Electronics Show. The panel is entitled “Innovating to Address Drone Related Challenges.” Details are provided below:
Safety and privacy are overarching considerations as drones are integrated into the national airspace. Where will software and hardware innovations help enhance safety and protect privacy as the use of drones increases in 2017? Are safety and privacy concerns better addressed through rapid innovation rather than rampant regulation?
Bob Kirk, Partner, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP
Brendan Schulman, VP, Policy & Legal Affairs, DJI
Gregory S. McNeal, Co-Founder, AirMap
Anil Nanduri, Vice President, New Technology Group/GM, Drone Group, Intel
Evan Low, Assemblymember, State of California
On December 9, 2016 I appeared on Bloomberg Television to discuss the impact Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao might have on the drone industry.
AirMap Co-Founder Greg McNeal discusses automation, air traffic control reform and Donald Trump’s choice of Eliane Chao as Transportation secretary. He speaks with Caroline Hyde on “Bloomberg Technology.” (Source: Bloomberg)
The video is embedded below.
On September 13, 2016 I spoke on a panel entitled “Governmental Use of Drones: A Practical Look at their Use by Municipalities and Related Fourth Amendment Implications.” The panel was part of the 81st Annual International Municipal Lawyers Association Conference.
The first part of this presentation address Riverside County’s (CA) Certificate of Authorization from the FAA and its test program to enhance the County’s ability to direct critical resources towards saving lives during search and rescue missions. The second part of this presentation will discuss the future of aerial surveillance law in an era of drones. Focusing on 4th Amendment issues, data retention, transparency, and accountability measures.
Dr. Gregory S. McNeal was selected by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to co-moderate a policy workshop discussion with participants from academia, industry and government.
The daylong event will begin at the White House and will then move to the Newseum for drone flight demonstrations and policy discussions. The event, billed as “The First-Ever OSTP Workshop on Drones and the Future of Aviation” will:
bring together government, academic, and industry stakeholders to discuss both the near and long-term implications of unmanned aircraft as an emergent technology; issues related to airspace integration; the potential of unmanned aircraft to enable high-impact research, create new jobs and industries, save lives, and improve the way government agencies and companies do business; and potential ways to further address safety, security, and privacy in this emerging field.
Dr. McNeal’s session will focus on issues related to the future of U.S. drone regulations. McNeal and a group of government facilitators will help identify challenge areas related to regulation and issues where industry leadership or cross-sector collaboration will prove useful in enabling small UAS integration. Discussion topics will range from immediate-term implementation challenges for Part 107 and other near-term rulemakings, waiver reform, technical solutions for notice of operations, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations, nighttime flight, operations over people, and more.
Dr. McNeal is Professor of Law & Public Policy at Pepperdine University School of Law and is co-founder of AirMap which provides safety solutions for drones. Dr. McNeal was previously appointed by the Secretary of Transportation to serve on the UAS Registration Task Force and was appointed by the FAA Administrator to serve on the Micro UAS Aviation Rulemaking Committee. In addition to his work in support of policymaking, Dr. McNeal serves as Chair of the Consumer Technology Association’s Industry Standards Working Group on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (R6 WG 23) and as a voting member of the ASTM technical committee creating scientific standards to govern unmanned aircraft and their operation.
A report conveying the event’s proceedings will be produced by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Foundation and will be released to the public to inform policymaking.
On May 2, 2016 I will be speaking at AUVSI XPONENTIAL, the speech is entitled “Airspace Awareness And Flight Safety Through A Distributed Network Of Apps, Smart Devices, and UTM Interfaces.”
Here is a brief description:
In this presentation Dr. McNeal will present the challenges associated with integrating both recreational and commercial UAS into the national airspace system. He will provide an overview of the present and future systems, and will describe how a distributed network of connected devices powered by APIs and SDKs can ensure a safe operating environment in which innovation can flourish.
On April 16, 2016 I will present at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California’s judicial conference. My remarks are entitled “A Primer On Emerging Issues In The Law Related To Drones.”