AUVSI, CEA Speak out on ‘Artificial, Statutory Restrictions’ on UAVs

Posted by Betsy Lillian on August 27, 2015 No Comments

In light of the Aug. 27 passage of S.B.142 in the California Senate, Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), and Brian Wynne, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), have issued a joint statement highlighting the potential harm the bill would cause if it were signed into law.

The legislation would create a no-fly zone for drones 350 feet or fewer above private property. California State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, first introduced the bill, S.B.142, in January. It recently passed the State Assembly on a 56-13 vote and has now passed the Senate by 21-10. The bill now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.

According to Wynne and Shapiro, the 350-foot altitude limit is “arbitrary” and is not “based on the realities of UAS operation.”

“California S.B.142 is an unnecessary, innovation-stifling and job-killing proposal. As consumers and businesses alike continue to adopt drones for personal and professional use, we agree issues of privacy should be addressed,” they state.

“S.B.142 may look like a privacy bill, but it would open the door to a new class of frivolous lawsuits in California and create inconsistencies with federal law.”

They add that while the FAA works on the final rules for commercial UAV operations, “the California state legislature should not disrupt this process with artificial, statutory restrictions.”

Wynne and Shapiro note that the bill does not include “any commercial, research or educational exemption – a serious concern as major companies are poised to invest billions in this technology and provide exciting new services to consumers.”

UAVs, they explain, “hold the power to create new businesses, improve our lives and transform the way we do business.”

“We hope Gov. Brown will recognize the overreach of the legislature and allow this flourishing industry to succeed and thrive in California.”

Jackson states, ‘I’m very pleased to see this bill move on to the governor’s desk for his consideration. Drones are a new and exciting technology with many potentially beneficial uses. But they should not be able to invade the privacy of our backyards and our private property without our permission.’

According to Jackson, Oregon currently has a similar law in place – passed in 2013 – that prohibits drones over private property up to 400 feet without permission.

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