FAA wants local input in new drone regulations

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The FAA just launched a new pilot program to get local input on how to further integrate drones into our daily lives. 

In the last decade, the Department of Transportation says the drones have become an $82 billion dollar industry. 

“Initially, we were shocked. Now, we are used to the fact that it's a continuing thing,” said Brian Berlin at Hobby Haven. "We continue to sell them and people continue to look for them. It really picks up around the holidays." 

There are many uses for drones. Farmers use them to monitor crops. Police use them at scenes. We even use them at 41 Action News to show you a different perspective on what we're covering. 

“The unique thing of small drones is their personal nature. You used to go to see an airplane, you went to an airport. Well, now it hovers outside your window, so obviously that's a new dynamic,” said Earl Lawrence with the FAA. 

Lawrence is the head of the drone integration program for the FAA.  

In mid-November, the FAA launched a pilot program with the goal of getting input from cities and businesses about how to make regulations work for drone users and those around them. 

“We need the input of the local authorities on how we can deal with that. The FAA is responsible for maintaining the safety of the National Air Space System, but obviously these operations are up close and personal,” said Lawrence. 

Business is good for Berlin at Hobby Haven. He’s happy about the pilot and says there needs to be local input for drone regulations. 

“I think there needs to be some regulation because individuals have been acting somewhat not responsible,” said Berlin.

The FAA is also preparing for new innovations like package delivery. Lawrence says that will also be a field where input is needed. 

“Do you want a package delivery in the middle of the night? Do you want to make sure those deliveries are not loud? Do you want a helicopter coming in your backyard in the middle of the night? These are the kinds of things we want to explore with the local community," said Lawrence. "How are we going to manage this and (how are we) going to interact, because those questions are still the local authorities' responsibility." 

The selection process will take several weeks. After the pilot, the FAA will meet with the Department of Transportation and other agencies to see what new regulations should be implemented.

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