The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) has appointed industry stakeholders to serve on a steering committee and as brand ambassadors who will develop the Trusted Operator Program (TOP) for remote pilots and unmanned aircraft system (UAS) training organizations.
The TOP, which AUVSI launched in November, is a UAS community initiative to facilitate best practices, codes of conduct and professionalism for operators of services provided by drones.
The initial planning for the TOP started early last year during meetings of AUVSI’s Remote Pilots Council (RPC), held across the country. RPC members and other remote pilots licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) discussed the need for higher levels of professionalism through consistent training, which would allow UAS operators flying for business purposes to further distinguish themselves in the market, says AUVSI.
In addition, RPC members said there is a lack of understanding of the legal implications involved in contracting UAS services that do not have certified and demonstrated safety and compliance protocols. This affects insurance costs, perceived market value for services, customer trust and regulatory oversight, AUVSI explains.
“There is an urgent need to unify the remote pilot community and remote pilot training providers to facilitate a recognized guide for training protocols, best practices and conduct. This will support reliability, safety, professionalism and trust in the UAS industry,” says Brian Wynne, president and CEO of AUVSI.
According to AUVSI, the TOP steering committee will work to highlight gaps in existing training protocols and help develop new ones. Brand ambassadors will promote the program to stakeholders throughout the drone community.
AUVSI’s list of participating companies and organizations can be found here.