Lieutenant Governors Forge Industry Partnership to Promote Drones

The Aerospace States Association, a lieutenant governor-led group focused on aviation issues, is partnering with Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, one of the more bullish supporters of the growing drone industry, in an effort to promote the devices' economic potential.

With the issues around unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, mostly worked out at the federal level, now it’s the states’ turn to swoop in.

And they’re making progress, thanks to the Aerospace States Association, a nonpartisan group of lieutenant governors focused on aerospace regulations at the state level. Last week, ASA announced that it had formed a partnership with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) to encourage greater use of unmanned aircraft systems.

In comments reported by UAS Magazine, ASA Executive Director Charles Huettner emphasized that the goal of the effort was not to overly regulate drones but to ensure their long-term success and integration into respective state economies.

“With [unmanned aircraft systems], we recognized from the beginning that this was an emerging industry, and we wanted to support it,” he emphasized.

AUVSI President and CEO Brian Wynne explained that the partnership would keep state officials abreast of the specific needs of unmanned vehicles and their economic benefits, creating an easy path forward for future industry growth.

“We look to ASA to provide leadership at the state level to advance unmanned aviation, as its members have successfully done to expand manned aviation,” Wynne said in a news release [PDF]. “Informing state elected officials about the benefits of unmanned systems and listening to their concerns and interest in this emerging technology are vital to enabling the infrastructure and public policy needed to grow our industry.”

Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, ASA’s chair, agreed, comparing the devices’ economic potential to that of the internet.

“The UAS industry is expected to grow our state economies, create over 100,000 high-paying jobs, and be a source of innovation and inspiration for our youth to enter the STEM workforce,” Ivey said in a statement.

As a kickoff to the partnership, Wynne will speak at ASA’s annual meeting on July 29 in Milwaukee, highlighting recent federal regulations on small unmanned aircraft systems.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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