Money & Business

New Association Seeks to Set Drone-Safety Standards

By / Apr 5, 2013 (photo by Hoverfly Technologies)

Aerial robotics company Hoverfly Technologies will debut a new industry association and flight school certification program for drone operators in May. How will this shape the debate over drone technology?

The association community now has a new member promoting drone technology.

Hoverfly Technologies, an aerial robotics company, has announced the creation of the Aerial Robotics Industry Association (ARIA) and flight school certification program for aerial robotic operators in the United States.

The FAA is accepting of our entrepreneurial efforts. We are proactively seeking their guidance to help us abide by their rules.

The announcement comes on the heels of a meeting between Hoverfly and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on March 25 that discussed a range of issues, including drone industry safety standards and the FAA’s current policy on drones, which does not allow their civilian use.

“We had a very positive meeting with the FAA, and as a result, we are moving forward with the flight school,” said Al Ducharme, a founder of Hoverfly Technologies and associate professor in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Central Florida, in a statement. “The FAA is accepting of our entrepreneurial efforts. We are proactively seeking their guidance to help us abide by their rules.”

Michael K. Wilson, southern region program manager for unmanned aircraft systems for the FAA, said in a statement that the aviation group understood “the future holds many opportunities for the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems,” and that “following safety standards will be critical to their acceptance.”

The FAA told Hoverfly that an industry standard for operations safety needed to be implemented before the flight school could be created. In response, the company reached out to industry leaders and formed ARIA. The ARIA-certified flight school will debut immediately, and instruction will focus on safe operation of aerial robotics and will be based on the ARIA FlySafe standard.

The association’s mission statement is as follows:

ARIA’s goal is to set the standards for the safe operation of aerial robotics for commercial use, and thereby advance the growing community of professional pilots. ARIA will set safety standards, and certifications will be granted by ARIA for flight schools around the country.

The inaugural meeting of ARIA will take place in May, along with the first Flysafe Flight School class May 17–19.

Associations—especially those with an interest in surveillance programs—have been debating the pros and cons of drone use throughout the past year. More than 30 states have considered drone-related privacy legislation since January, prompting many associations to defend drone practices.

Do you think new safety standards, developed with the help of a new association, will do anything to dispel concerns over privacy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Daniel Ford

Daniel Ford is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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