By Bailey Schulz / Las Vegas Review-Journal
Updated October 5, 2018 – 10:46 pm
Nevada’s drone testing endeavors have expanded federal funding opportunities in place for the next five years.
President Donald Trump signed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018 Friday, which will have a “major impact” on Nevada’s drone industry, said Chris Walach, the executive and senior director of the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems.
The reauthorization act will attract more agencies to Nevada — which is one of the FAA’s seven designated unmanned aerial system test sites, potentially bringing in more investment and funding opportunities to the state, Walach said.
“It gives us a boost of credibility across the industry,” Walach said. “We now have long-term sustainability to help the UAS industry grow with our Nevada drone businesses working as our strongest partners.”
The measure also repealed Section 336, which means hobbyist drone operators are now required to register their unmanned aerial system and take a knowledge test in order to fly. Federal agencies were also given the ability to take down and disable drones that are seen as a threat and touches on the nation’s Unmanned Traffic Management — a system created to manage drone traffic.
“It really puts a greater sense of urgency on the (Department of Transportation) and the FAA to bring UTM into operation,” Walach said. “You have other countries that are pulling ahead of where UTM is in the U.S.”