AUVSI supports unmanned vehicle technology legislation

By Patrick C. Miller | July 02, 2015

Legislation recently introduced in Congress intended to protect firefighters and support innovative unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technologies has the support of the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI).

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, introduced the Protecting Firefighters and Promoting Innovation Act and Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Illinois, introduced the Future Transportation Research and Innovation for Prosperity (TRIP) Act.

“AUVSI values the efforts of Reps. Sinema and Lipinski to accelerate the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the national airspace system and general advancement of unmanned technology,” said Brian Wynne, AUVSI president and CEO. “The two pieces of legislation that each of them introduced underscore the many societal benefits of robotic technologies, from helping fight wildfires to improving our transportation system.”

Sinema’s legislation has bipartisan support to leverage innovative technologies for Arizona firefighters, reducing risks for first responders and improving the effectiveness of wildfire fighting strategies. It calls for the establishment of an interagency working group to develop best practices for integrating UAS technologies into wildland firefighting efforts.

“Arizonans are too familiar with the devastating effects wildfires have on our communities,” Sinema said. “Two years ago, the Yarnell Hill Fire claimed the lives of 19 Arizona hotshots. These heroes put everything on the line to protect our neighbors and families, and it’s our responsibility to do everything we can to prevent future tragedies.”

Wynne said firefighting is a dangerous job that’s critical to the protection of life and property. Sinema’s bill to incorporate UAS into the firefighting process will improve firefighter safety and decrease the potential for injuries and casualties, he noted.

Among the measures in the TRIP Act intended to improve the advancement of transportation technologies is the establishment of priorities for research and deployment for autonomous vehicles.

“Rapidly advancing automation, connectivity and information technologies are creating incredible opportunities for transportation innovation,” Lipinski said. “We need to develop innovative ways to improve safety, ease congestion, improve personal mobility, and cut energy use.”

Wynne applauded Lipinski’s efforts to establish a foundation for the widespread use of connected and intelligent vehicle technologies. He said a new generation of intelligent machines, including automated vehicles, will improve the safety of our transportation system, provide mobility to the elderly and disabled and reduce cost and waste.

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