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Lawmaker Calls for Regulation of Consumer Drones

As reports of incidents relating to consumer-owned drones continue to rise, one California legislator wants to establish safety standards for unmanned aircraft and to strengthen federal laws that govern them. California Senator Dianne Feinstein announced in June that she supports the proposed Consumer Drone Safety Act which, she states, would help to prevent midair and ground crashes. Currently, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration does not require consumer drone manufacturers to include technological safeguards. Consumer drones regularly fly high in the air and over areas frequented by pedestrians and cyclists.
Feinstein said that a tragedy related to consumer drones is inevitable. At her request, the FAA recently released statistics showing more than 190 incidents involving pilot-sighted drones over a nine-month period. More than 20 of those were near midair collisions. The FAA can only regulate drones used for commercial purposes, and “that loophole must be closed,” Feinstein said.
The Consumer Drone Safety Act would require safety features for new consumer drones, including collision-avoidance software and geo-fencing that would manage the altitude and direction of flights. The FAA would also regulate the maximum height for consumer drone flights and restrict flights from certain areas, such as airports.
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