SACRAMENTO— Assemblymember Steve Fox (D-Palmdale) presented Assembly Bill (AB) 737, a proposal to create a commission tasked with applying to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to designate California as a test site for Unmanned Aviation Systems (UAS), more commonly called drones. Read the full text of Assembly Bill (AB) 737 here.
“The state of California is uniquely qualified to be a UAS test area,” Fox said. “In addition to having excellent geographical conditions, we also have controlled air spaces, sparsely populated and safe test zones, and a highly qualified and experienced workforce. Further—this industry will create thousands of jobs—why shouldn’t they be in California?”
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International reports that the drone industry has the potential to create 100,000 civilian manufacturing jobs. In 2012, the FAA estimated that 10,000 drones will be operating within the United States in the next five years. As such, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 directed the federal agency to establish a research and testing program to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace.
Fox continued, “California has an opportunity to put its greatest minds to work. Unmanned aircraft will become a part of our future. UAS have the potential to be used for firefighting efforts, search and rescue, environmental protection, scientific inquiry, and humanitarian efforts. Our state is highly qualified for this research and we can now demonstrate our leadership and terrestrial wealth to the technical and scientific communities.”
Under AB 737, the proposed UAS commission would be created within the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO Biz). The commission’s primary responsibility would be to market California as a viable research venue for the unmanned aircraft. The state’s proposal will include detailed descriptions of the proposed test areas, available workforce documentation, population density maps, and plans to implement safe research and testing.
For more information, visit www.asmdc.org/fox
(Information via press release from the office of Assemblymember Steve Fox.)
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