On Monday, March 14, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta spoke to a panel at South by Southwest (SXSW) about the future of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS). SXSW is a festival of music, technology, and film that takes place in Austin, TX.
The discussion focused on timely integration of sUAS into the national airspace, maintaining current safety standards, and future applications of UAS.
In his opening statement, Huerta reinforced the success of the FAA’s online registration system, announcing that the number of registrants will soon exceed 400,000. He also discussed the new MicroUAS rulemaking committee
, confirming that the guidelines established by the committee will be issued this spring.
According to a press release, Huerta emphasized the continual need for teamwork and partnerships between government and industry. "The wide array of industry representatives here today underscores that while we may sometimes have different opinions and ideas, we’re all coming from essentially the same place: We all view safety as our top priority, and the safe integration of unmanned aircraft is a goal that we’re committed to pursuing together," Huerta said.
Blogger and drone enthusiast Sally French, aka The Drone Girl, moderated the panel. Panel members included representatives from NASA, Amazon Prime Air, Intel, PrecisionHawk, Aerobo, and Fresh Air Educators.
Also announced at the panel was the Android launch of the FAA’s updated B4UFLY app, previously only available on iOS devices.