National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) said in a report yesterday the FAA is often “overly conservative” and should weigh the overall benefits of drones instead of focusing only on their risk to airplanes and helicopters. (The full report can be purchased for $45.)
Introducing drone operations into the nation’s airspace can provide substantial benefits to society, such as preventing derailments, inspecting cell phone towers, delivering medical devices to patients in cardiac distress, and assisting firefighters, said the NASEM report. The report said the FAA’s tendency to “overestimate the severity and likelihood of risks from many types of drone operations, can be a significant barrier to introduction and development of this emerging and rapidly changing technology.”
The NASEM report cited examples of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) reducing risks and saving lives. Earlier this year, a drone reportedly saved two swimmers in New South Wales, Australia, who were caught in rough ocean surf. A lifeguard supervisor spotted the swimmers in trouble and used a drone to drop an inflatable device.