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We Have Liftoff: FAA Action on Drones Rules a Welcome Step Forward

Arlington, VA – February 16, 2015 – 

The following statement is attributed to Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, in response to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) long-awaited issuance of proposed rules regarding the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS): 

“We thank the FAA for issuing its proposed rules and providing a path forward for unmanned aircraft to spread their wings and operate safely within U.S. airspace. The FAA itself has acknowledged the ‘pent-up demand for small unmanned aircraft,’ but these proposed rules are only the liftoff stage toward needed final rules. It will be important to strike the appropriate regulatory balance between innovation and safety, and we urge the FAA to expedite this rulemaking action to fully realize commercial drones’ potential as a truly disruptive technology.

“Drones will revolutionize a broad array of consumer and commercial sectors, bringing with them innovative new businesses and thousands of jobs. CEA research forecasts the global market for consumer drones will approach $300 million by 2018 – more than triple our current expectations of $84 million in 2014 global revenues. And if you include accompanying services, the market for drones could easily exceed $1 billion in just five years’ time. But in order to more thoroughly tap the remarkable potential of drones, the FAA must move forward in a timely manner and provide for deliveries by commercial drones – whether that’s as critical as bringing life-saving medications needed in remote areas struck by disaster, or as basic as delivering a gift someone purchased just in time for a birthday.

“Until now, the U.S. has led the world in each step of aviation innovation, always striving to be the ‘first in flight.’ While the U.S. is not the first nation to promulgate rules for drones, we aim to advance a clear and straightforward policy framework that fosters U.S. innovation and safety in this emerging market. Additionally, as the first major supporter of the “Know Before You Fly” campaign, we encourage recreational users of drones to follow the coalition’s voluntary set of safety guidelines.”

UAS were among the highlights at the 2015 International CES® Jan. 6-9 in Las Vegas. This year, CES featured the first-ever Unmanned Systems Marketplace, allowing attendees to witness how these unique tools are forever changing the way we capture and monitor our world. Also, the CES Innovation Policy conference track featured a panel titled Drones: Consumer Technology Reaches New Heights, with speakers from the FAA, 3D Robotics, Aerial MOB, Parrot and Nevada’s UAS Test Site.

About the Consumer Technology Association

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the technology trade association representing the $223 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative and regulatory advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services. Find CEA online at www.CE.org, www.DeclareInnovation.com and through social media.

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