Drone maker offers glimpse of regulatory road ahead

This post originally appeared on Pit & Quarry.

[Editor’s Note: Pit & Quarry spoke with Gabe Dobbs, VP of Business Development and Policy at Kespry, about the new FAA rules. Kespry provides an Automated Drone System for Aggregates, Construction, Insurance and Mining.]

More aggregate producers are adding drones to their operations, but the rules and regulations for drone use are changing.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finalized the first operational rules for routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) last month, and more changes are likely coming.

Pit & Quarry connected with Gabe Dobbs, vice president of business development and policy at Kespry, which designs automated drone systems for commercial use, to capture some added perspective on the regulatory road ahead.

P&Q: Of the FAA’s new drone regulations, which do you anticipate having the greatest impact on drone operators?

Dobbs: Creating a clear and simple licensing process for commercial drone operators. This is a big shift from an opaque system that took months to get through and left the operator with a set of restrictions that made it very difficult to fly by the book.

P&Q: Do you anticipate additional requirements to develop that would impact commercial drone use?

Dobbs: Absolutely. [Requirements for] beyond-line-of-sight drones – when drones fly completely automated without a person present – are only a few years away. NASA, the FAA and several private companies are working on a system for unmanned traffic management to make this happen.

P&Q: As Kespry’s vice president of business development and policy, how do you approach changing government policies to ensure the company is aligned with current rules and regulations?

Dobbs: The policy part of my job is divided into two key tasks: the first and most important is to educate Kespry customers on what regulations have an impact on their business and operations around the world. The second is to be an advocate for our customers and the industry in helping policymakers to understand best practices around safety, permitting and enforcement of a new regulatory system for commercial drones.

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