tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 11, 2014 7:00pm-9:01pm EST
for that. so we do everything we can do at this moment. >> well, what does the driver do with the vehicle that's in a recall that is not going to be repaired for another year and a half or two years? owe just disconnect the air bag? just hope you don't have an accident? >> no, that's impossible. i understand the situation. that's why -- i'm not trying to be rude about it. >> we, of course, actually, the data shows that it's still -- in that case that we can supply to fit the the demand of our customers at this moment, if we focus on that priority, or if we do taking a phase, by adding capacity, we can catch up the
supply to the demand. >> my time is about to expire. are there other manufacturers that manufacture an equivalent airbag product that you could institute for your air bag and repair these cars that have already been recalled? or is that just not technically an engineering wise feasible b? >> it's required some tests. >> i would suggest that you look at that. because the sooner the cars that have already been identified are repaired, the better off you're going to be, in my opinion. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you very much. the chair recognizes the gentleman from kentucky. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank the witnesses for their testimonies today.
i wish i could say i felt better about this situation now than i did when i walked into the room, but i think i feel a little bit more uncertain than i wish i did. i have a little bit of a personal his we with this issue. i was a young senate staffer on the congress committee in the early '07s when ralph nader came to the congress and urged the mandatory air bag legislation and so i know we've been putting air bags in cars for a long time. i would like to hear from all the manufacturers how long you've been putting air bags in your vehicles. >> congressman, since the '90s, i'm pretty sure. the early '90s. >> i'm not so sure. i think it was the late '80s. could have been early '90s. >> same thing. and i know there have been instances involving spontaneous deployment of air bags and so forth but correct me if i'm
wrong. the issue that we're dealing with today, these inflator ruptures did not happen before ten years. are you aware of any incidents of inflator ruptures that occurred before the turn of the century? >> no. >> all right. and i assume that there was no relevance of humidity in any of the prior instances of now function of air bags prior to the turn of the century, essentially this ten-year period. so i'm getting at this issue of the root cause. and what possibly changed, other than change of propellant that you use from before this time period when you changed propellants, is there anything else that changed in the technology that you could reasonably identify as a potential cause of this inflator
rupture prior to this period? >> we understand the character of the models we use. and it's controlled during the operation, and we do it and unfortunately we've had some issues in the past. the moisture control. but it's -- we believe that the it is managed the environmental complex. >> but what i'm getting at is, i think we pretty much excluded any other potential root cause, other than the propellant being used. nothing else changed in technology. none of these happened before the change in propellant. so regardless of whether it's humidity related, temperature
related, or -- the propellant seems to be the only variable that could be responsible for these malfunctions. is that correct, or not? nothing else changed and we never saw it before you changed propellants. wouldn't you say it's reasonable to assume that the propellant is the root cause? congressman, this has happened eerd able normal typical reaction, or weakness of the body. so either -- also now, but also the fact that we can consider is the body side. but at this moment, according to our investigation, we don't see any abnormality in the body side. >> okay. going a little bit further and this is expanding on his question, you filed a 573 safety recall report just a month or so ago involving a defect in the airbags produced in mexico, is that correct?
>> yes. the air bag was produced in mexico. >> right. so you're actually still producing air bags that have defects in them. and i don't know what the nature of that defect was, but again it goes to the question of, and i ráu(r time. it goes to the question of whether we can be confident that even the replacements that are being provided are safe, and i guess any of the manufacturing representatives who are here might want to respond. how can you be confident that the replacement parts you're putting in or the air bags you're putting in today are safe if you're still buying them from takata. >> that specific issue is happened in mexico many years ago. and that's already crossed and
moved to mexico. and as i said, it's all done from previous issues. it was greased, we had problems and taken care of. so the correction production is capable to produce the parts and i'm very confident that it's there. >> i would like to submit, mr. chairman, that question. and have the manufacturers respond to the committee as to how we can be confident that the equipment that they're using today is safe. thank you very much. >> absolutely. >> i yield back.
>> the chair recognizes the vice chair of the sub committee, yes man from new jersey, mr. lance. >> thank you, mr. chairman. are toyotas on the road in the united states today safe regarding the air bag issue? >> sir, every time there's a safety recall -- >> yes. >> and the vehicle has yet to be repaired -- >> yes. >> there's always the risk. in the case of people residing in the area of high humidity, we are urging our customers to please follow the instructions of the letters that we have sent to them, and as long as they do that, they can operate the vehicle safely. >> and if that is done, there are enough air bags available so that that can be accomplished immediately? >> takata has indicated they have significantly increased the production, starting from this month. and i think we have a good amount of inflate=ors. >> thank you. mr. westbrook, the same question to you regarding bmws. >> would you repeat, please? >> yes, are bmws safe for the driving public in the united states of america today? >> we believe they are. we have no knowledge of any
inflator rupture to this date on any bmw, on any air bag, on any side of the car. >> same question to you, mr. schostek, regarding hondas. >> yes, mr. chairman. there are recalls in effect for honda vehicles from the past. we are urging those customers to get those vehicles fixed. if there's not a recall, then we do believe those customers are safe. i do want to address the situation -- >> and there are enough air bags so for those that are being recalled the problem can be fixed immediate will? >> that's where i was going, yes. we have seen the supply of replacement parts is adequate to match the demand. we appreciate the attention on this issue. it's actually causing more customers to come forward and to get their vehicles repaired. these are usually older vehicles. and getting a high complete rate on recalls is difficult. >> and you're confident that the recalls you have suggested are
inclusive of all of the problems? >> yes, sir. >> and there's not likely to be furl recalls upon us? >> there is a safety information campaign where takata has not yet identified the defect or cause of that. we are going to expand that to a national campaign, as we talked about this morning. and there may be, sir, a time when replacement parts become a little short. and that's why we're working with not only takata, but two other manufactures, auto league and disel. and we believe based on recent discussions with those companies there are good pros protects to reduce the shortage. there's not a shortage right now, sir. we expect there may be a shortage in the foreseeable future. but we're trying to reduce --
>> thank you. mr. shimizu. i have in front of me the letter takata sent in response to the request of the government. letter is dated yesterday. it is from mike, the director of product safety. does he work for you? >> yes. >> and he's director of product safety in this country or throughout the entire system? >> it's mainly focused on this country. >> this country. thank you. i find the response, argumentative and not particularly helpful. for example, takata complains that you have only had two working days to respond giving the intervening thanksgiving holiday. how long has takata known about the problem. certainly more than two working days. >> could you repeat the question again? >> i find the response, and we'll be asking about this later because this is our next witness.
i find the letter very unhelpful and extremely contentious. it does not support a nationwide determination of a safety wide defect in all vehicles equipped with the driver side inflators. that's not the view of the agency and government that protects the american people. you are in opposition, is that accurate? >> can i ask the question? >> certainly. >> congressman, sorry it take so long.
>> certainly, you have every right to confirm. yes, that's correct. that is. >> thank you, and in conclusion, and we'll be asking this of nhtsa later in the hearing. on november 26th, nhtsa demanded a national recall of driver's side with a deadline of december 2nd. you have responded in the negative. if the company fails to act, nhtsa will continue to statutorily require process needed to force takata to act. and certainly my line of questioning this afternoon will be related to that. i think that we have to work more closely together to make sure that the american people are safe. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, and the chair recognizes the gentleman from
mississippi for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here today. mr. shimizu, you know, this is a matter of safety and concern for for everyone as a driver and families, children, those that might be impacted can i ask you, the propellant that you use that's the ammonium nitrate propellant you use now, when was the decision made to -- and when did you stop using tetrazole and move to the ammonium nitrate propellant? >> i'm not sure, congressman exactly which year, but i believe it was 2003 or -- let me confirm. >> it's been at least more than ten years ago. correct? >> yes. >> and maybe late 1990s. early 2000?
what is the cost difference between the propellant in tetrazole versus what you use now? how much does that affect the price of an air bag? >> i believe to my knock, there's not much difference. but i don't know the actual cost. >> but isn't tetrazole much more expensive? why was the decision made to switch from one to the the other if but for cost? >> the reason to change is not the cost. it's because of the -- there are many other reasons why we do that. >> what is the propellant for the replacement air bags that you're manufacturing as we speak. >> excuse me? >> what propellant is used on
the replacement air bags? the ones that you're manufacturing now? >> the same that we use before. >> do you foresee changing the propellant of those approximately 50,000 per month. we have to get the materials to replace the parts for the vehicle. it's a characteristic and a difference. so we have to go through the first tests. that's the main reason we continue to use the same, and of course, that comes for the current production line. and one more thing, if i can, is we have -- also, and is a type of motors, and we continue to work on improving the program. >> do you believe that the cause of the ruptures or the early deployment of these air bags or the ineffectiveness of it, is that due to the propellant, or do you believe that it's some
other cause? >> my understanding is this cause of the problem is because of the manufacturing process, and the humidity control. >> i certainly want to, i would like to ask some questions, if i may, from toyota on the approach that you have. how many toyota vehicles by the recall? >> approximately, 878,000. >> and it's my understanding that toyota was the first to initiate a nationwide recall, is that correct? >> our nationwide recall has been in effect since april of 2013. >> just as a matter of convenience, are you providing loaner vehicles to the customers that come? >> yes.
if that's what they desire, yes. >> mr. westbrook, is that something that bmw is doing, yes? >> and honda. >> yes. right now the parts are in adequate supply. we provide that to them at no charge. >> if i may ask, you mentioned earlier, and you said there are not never driver side air bag issues for toyota. why is that? >> the problematic inflators that takata has identified, they're not installed in the u.s. >> different supplier for the driver side air bag? >> yes. >> what prompted you, mr. saadat to start supplying inflators to takata for testing?
>> there was a preliminary evaluation that was opened by nhtsa in june of this year, and requested all automakers to send parts that they have collected. >> okay. >> and send them to takata for testing. >> what about independent testing? what are we doing there? >> in terms of independent testing, we have retained the service on an independent engineering firm to be able to help us and give us more assurances on the root cause of this issue. >> mr. westbrook, any independent testing that bmw is engaging in yet? >> we are under contract to begin engaging in that. we are beginning to collect the air bags under this regional campaign and we'll start that shortly and make those results available. >> thank you very much. my time has expired. i yield back. >> chairman recognizes the gentleman from missouri, mr. long, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. shimizu, how many people would need to die before you would be willing to do a nationwide recall? >> five people died from the
incident. >> that's what have died now. my question is how many more would need to die before you do what nhtsa recommends, which is a nationwide recall? >> i don't think -- >> do you have a test? >> again, it's -- we are still doing additional recalls for e researching purpose and we haven't identified the root of the cause of the problem yet. but it's a chance to have -- it's minimal according to the data that we have. >> it's my understanding when the air bag explodes, it's metal projectiles, shrapnel so to speak, that has cut veins and led to some of these deaths, is that correct? >> once it happens, yes. >> so it's sort of driving down the highway with possibly a shotgun aimed at you behind the
steering wheel or behind the glove box, i guess, and not knowing which air bag is going to explode at what time and act as a shotgun would with shrapnel. in the past, two million times air bag have been deployed as designed and save the people lives and also -- yes, we have some issues and we have to address that and as we did in the past, so, we considered it's a products we are making right now today is safe and also, some concerns on -- to identify with
it right now. >> you're confident with the ones you're making are safe. now, there's a possibility they are not safe, correct? that would be covered with a nationwide recall? >> excuse me, let me confirm. >> sure. >> congressman, sorry take time. for the 80 year regional recall is all vehicle we have doesn't support such a risk at this
moment. safe. >> i don't know if i understood the answer. the question is, the ones that have been manufactured today, you're confident are safe, but the ones that are out there on the road now that will not be recalled because you're not willing to do a nationwide recall, those are not safe. prabs. perhaps. correct? think they are safe? >> pardon? >> you are they are safe? >> yes. >> okay. and you're confident from the testimony i've heard today, i'm given to understand that you think that it is a humidity and heat function of heat and humidity. is that a one-time situation or is it a compound situation? let me give you an example. if live in cheyenne, wyoming, low humidity and i want to go to a wedding in jacksonville, florida, in my honda, that has a
takata air bag, should i make that trip? only going to be there a few days. would that be a safe trip to ta take? >> congressman, i consider that a compound situation, which is the vehicles or products have to be extensive periods of time and under the high temperature, high humidity. >> so, if i was going to move from cheyenne, wyoming to take a job in jacksonville, florida, and i was going to be there, you'd recommend that i get my air bag replaced, correct? if i was going to live there year round and there was going to be heat and humidity year round. you'd recommend i get the air bag replaced. >> there are many -- >> i want to keep my family safe. >> our cars are safe. that's why the identify the root of the cause yet, so that's why
we continue to test. >> let me ask the gentleman from honda, mr. shosic, is that correct? >> that's right, sir. >> same question to you. i live in cheyenne, wyoming. i want to go to florida to take the family for a wedding. you confident i'm safe in a honda to do that or is it a compact effect? should people not travel in high heat areas with the air bags for short trips? >> okay, we have had national recalls related to takata -- >> that's not my question. that's what i think takata should do and i appreciate that honda's done that. my question is if someone was going to make a trip and had not done the recall process. >> the phenomena of inflated ruptures that we've seen over the years is occurring in vehicles that are fairly old vehicles. eight years old. ten years old. 12 years old. >> so, the five deaths in hondas
have been older cars -- >> yeah and i think the discussion about heat and humidity, the theory about that is it's over a prolonged period of time that heat and humidity cycle potentially affecting the propellant. >> what's the newest car someone who was deceased in, a honda, what's the latest year model? >> sir, i believe it was a 2004, but i'd have to check. zpl and that would have been what year that the tragedy occurred? >> the most recent one occurred this year, sir, but in a 2004 model. there's been four fatalities in honda vehicles. >> i thought there had be five. >> one in the u.s. and one in malays malaysia. all were subject to that national recall. one was -- >> i appreciate honda doing that, but i think takata should
do that. i don't have any time, but -- >> gentleman from illinois is recognized for five minutes. >> you've been a fanstic chairman, good friend, but congratulations on the work you've done on this committee. just a couple of quick questions. make up for billy long there. sorry, billy. to the three of you, i'll just ask generally, do you believe that's currently sufficient day to available to support the call to a national safety recall for all takata driver's side air bags? >> no. >> okay. >> we'll just ask done the line. >> as stated, we don't have any of those problematic deflators on the driver's side. >> we are taking the action to
expand our safety and improvement campaign for driver's side recalls from regional to national. we want to get more information to help others in the industry as well as takata and ours to understand what the defect is and to determine the cause. i think it's important to understand from the customer's viewpoint, congressman, we use these words, safety, improvement recall and campaign, we're certainly emp thetic to that. the notice that arrives in the customer's mailbox whether it's one or the other, says your vehicle is subject to recall, let's bring it in. what's happen ng the field. what's happening with our customers. how do they understand what is going on here? and we're really trying to double up our efforts to make sure they understand that we want them to bring that vehicle in so we can replace the inflater and then, we need to do
testing. honda needs to do testing. we as oems need to do testing. we've talked about a -- there is still engineering work to do. we're all engineering companies. we want to find the answer to this. >> in the meantime, i think our focus has to be what we can do to our customer. >> i appreciate it. i'm going to shift gears. there's been a significant discussion about recalls from high humidity states to other states outside those regions. i believe an area that needs focus by automakers is the commerce of recycled equipment manufacturer parts. each day, over a million recycled parts t very same parts designed by krour companies to meet your finish and durability standards are sold by professional automotive recyclers. they are readily sold from one state or region of the country from one region to another. recently, gm reached out to
automotive recyclers offering to buy back or purchase recalled gm ignition switches. to accomplish this, gm provided switches that were critical to ensure that recyclers could identify specific partses in their company's inventories. to those represented in the car companies. do you agree that sharing oem part numbers and other identifiable information with professional recycling automotive industry would increase safety? we'll start with that. >> congressman, i, myself, am not familiar with the gm action you described. i will gladly check into it and get back to you on it. air bags are a problem in this country as well and we've been working hard state by state to try to stop the use of counterfeit air bags. that's a big danger to consumers, to our customers. we've had some success in some stats, but on the recycler, i
would like to check and get back to you. >> we have a process called the automated parts return and any component like an air bag is subject to this. whether that's a recall or not, that goes back to us. if a recycler wants our mirror caps, they can have them. >> i'm an engineer and can't really comment on legislative issue, but i'll be happy to comment later. >> would that help your company's tracking and recall parts? >> what information, please? >> the oem part numbers with recyclers. >> can't see that. >> okay. do honda, toyota and bmw have a similar buyback program in place with professional recyclers? you guys might have already addressed that. >> i'd be happy to check. >> i yield back ten seconds. >> thank you and now, the
gentleman from florida for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate all your good work in this committee and congress as a whole and we are going to miss you. this is a fundamental issue of safety and americans must be able to trust that the cars they drive are safe. i'm sure you'll agree with that. instead, millions of americans have been driving cars with potentially deadly air bags. i represent the area i represent has an increased risk because of this defect. mr. shos ki and westberg, the question is for you. what measures are you taking to correct, identify, correctly identify customers whose vehicles have been in high humidity areas for prolonged period. how you contacting them?
>> first of all, in erm it is of region, what we have is we basically look at the latest registration. number one. we're also looking at snow bi birds. if the vehicle's transferred and brought to you know, the region. if there's in general, if there's a regional recall, we contact our customers outside of the region. >> what about if somebody buys a used car? how would you address that? >> we look at the latest registration and we'll get information and contact them. >> okay.
>> florida has been the site of 17 incidents. by far, the bigs concern. there was an article in late september in one of the newspapers that inaccurately reported that honda was asking dealers not to contact customers. what had happened at the same time, in florida, we had begun 93,000 calls. sent out 125 e-mails and sent out 76,000 postcards. we believe the risk is high ees in your state and we are putting extra effort into locating customers in your state and having some suck swesz that, sir. >> i'd like to hear from mr. westbrook. >> we have a way to track the car bought in florida because it
would be subject to the recall and that's links to the vin by our database. i do not have an answer as to the way we would track a car. i'd like to get back on that. >> well, please work on that and i'd like to hear from you. >> i will. >> again, for the entire panel, would you let a family member drive a car with a takata air bag? i'd like for you to answer that. >> if the car was subject to recall, i would urge that family member to get in his as soon as possible and get it fixed. if the car is not subject to a recall, yes, i would let my family member. i would drive a car with a takata air bag. >> yes, i do. i would drive the car with our air bag. >> mr. westbrook. >> i would drive a bmw with the passenger recall in place. >> if a family member lives in high risk area, i urge them to
take the vehicle and actually, first of all, follow the instruction letters we've sent to them and they can operate it safely. and take the vehicle, we'll try to take care of them. >> would you let them drive it after they went through that? would you let them drive the or in other words, would you allow them to drive it or prefer they drive it? >> after the remedy is done based on information tak arks trt trtakata has indicated that they have addressed the root cause, yes. >> and you would trust takata. >> as i said before, we have retained the service of an independent engineering firm to give us more assurances, sir. >> next question. i know i don't have much time. takata has known there are potential issues with its air bags as far back at 2004.
a full decade has passed by. why hasn't your company been able to fix this life threatening defect since then? >> congressman, every time we recognize issues, we are immediately jump on to problems and try to find the root cause of issues and as soon as we identify the root of cause, we took care of that. we zras issues, we take care of the problems. >> it's been a full decade. ten years. >> i don't think there's any excuse for not solving the problem. >> we immediately take actions, however, it's true ta we have series of recalls and that different timing and we have some different cause of the problems. >> thank you. i yield back. >> gentleman from west virginia is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
let me try to focus a little bit on the recall notices because we're not going to have success with this unless people bring their cars in and get this taken care of and we also know that the traditionally, 30 to 40% of people ignore their recall notice. if you think back when moses came down from the mountain, he came down with ten commandments. he didn't come down with ten good ideas, so i'm concerned about how much of an emphasis is in that notice. that you better get your car back in because i've got two notice ts on my car. i've got two. i've got a chef cruz. i haven't done anything with it yet. i don't know if it's a life threatening situation, so i ignored it. so i know that 30 to 40% of people ignore them. how effective is the notice that
you all are given that this car could provide mr. long said, a shotgun. >> what is the content of your notice? is it just a good idea to put it in? or if you don't, we're coming after it? >> we have recently implemented second day outreach program and one in particular is contacting each customers buy phone. e-mails. and follow up e-mails to urge them to -- we'll tow the vehicle to the dealership. >> you're doing the telephone
call with it? we've we've got 10, 125 12 manufacturers. could you send our office just a tip dahl cal notice that when you put out a recall? i'm just curious to see what value is it. do you scare them? is this a commandment or is this just a good idea? >> i think you're hitting on a fundamental problem. we need to reach and convince our customers to get these recalls. we're talking about older vehicles here. we will send you sir, both a notice with regard to a recall and the notice we send to a safety improvement campaign. i've looked at both. the letter is pretty strong. the request is pretty strong. >> if you could just send that to me, i'd appreciate it very much. another step with us in this recall notice, car fax apparently doesn't tell you where your car is. if i'm going to buy a used car, i don't know, again, maybe you can inform me or educate me, but i don't believe car fax says that care came from florida. but now, i own a car that's been
in florida for 12 years and i buy this car in west virginia. am i going to get a notice that there's a recall? >> if that car is recalled, sir. we are checking our -- >> it's a yes or no, isn't it? isn't it a yes or no? >> yes, you should. >> i will get noticed. >> if it's ever been registered -- >> you know that car because let's just say i bought a car in west virginia, so it's registered in west virginia, but then i take it to florida and use it in florida for 12 years and bring it back to west virginia or how ever. what's the, who knows where that car really is? >> it's a very good question and obviously, we can't sit here and provide you with 100% assurance that we're able to track a car. we have -- we do check registration information in the
various states, so we know it that way, but it's an area we need to work harder on. >> that's hob da. what about toyota? i'm just curious from a pure mechanical standpoint, how are we checking this? >> similar to the answer i give to the congressman from florida. i think we have it in the car. going to one way. if the car's registered in florida and we have a campaign in florida, it's going to be cross linked to that vehicle identification number. the other way around is more difficult to figure out and committed earlier, we'll try to get to the bottom of that. >> okay. let me ask the final question with this is if i'm, if i have a concern about my car and i've not received a recall notice and i take it to a dealer and i say, i'm just uncomfortable. i see across the nation, there have been deaths reported to this and i'd like to have my air bag replaced.
what does the dealer do? he says, sure. i'll take care of it next week or does he say, you don't fit the profile, therefore, we're not going to replace it. if that's the case, if he says no, where is the liability then? >> congressman, we have instructed our detaylors -- to feel comfortable. if they are concerned about their car -- if a part is not b available. and just this week, congressman, i requested our service division to contact each and every dealer we have in the united states. we have more than 1300 honda and acura dealer to contact them individually and insure that the treatment the customers are receiving and respect they're reffing with regard to these inflater issues is up to our expectations. we expect our dealers to
accommodate our customers. >> they've not been recalled. their individual needs. at no cost to the owner. >> thank you very much. i yield back my time. >> i recognize for five minutes. >> thank you and i would like to -- my thoughts to you as you make this transition. it's been great serving with you on this committee and i wish you the absolute best. mr. shimizo, i want to get in to the manufacturing a little bit. i came prior to coming to congress, i worked for an automotive slier. we made electronic components, some of the plants were located near where some of your rs located. we understand there are five inflater types that have been subjected to these recalls. in terms of producing
replacement kits for those that have to be replaced, can takata simultaneously produce new inflaters for each type as well as replace kits. >> as they're on exclusive line, so answer is yes. we can do it. >> you can do replacements and new. okay. along these same lines, are passenger and driver air bag inflaters produced on the same line or on separate lines? >> passenger inflater and driver inflater would produce a completely different line, but from the same plant. >> same plant, but different line. >> yes. >> okay. does an increase in the production of replacement parts,
driver side replacement parts, affect your ability to produce passenger air bag inflaters? >> could you repeat the question? >> does an increase in the production of driver side air bags, does that affect your ability to produce passenger side air bags? since they're on separate lines, i think the answer to that is no. for our folks at honda, what analysis and i saw the press release about the analysis that you're going to be doing. if i've got it right, honda today called for a coordinated industry wide third party testing of takata testers are
accurately identified and fixed as quickly as possible. what analysis did honda under go and was it independent? have you done any with the recall of the air bags are necessary? >> the recall decision that we make is based on information that we receive for example from takata with regard to manufacturing defects. they told us what those were. we did not blindly accept their analysis, but our engineers looked and thought, was it reasonable. based on that, we have effected recalls over time. with regard to the current problem, which is trying to
understand the cause of the, is there a defect and what could be the b contributing cause, we began some independent testing recently, but were really appreciative that others in the auto industry and especially with toyota's leadership that we were able to announce yesterday that many of us are coming together to share information about testing. we still have high expectations of takata to continue their testing. i can speak for honda that we feel a need to validate that and see what we can come up with using an expert three-part engineering firm. just real quick. we know that at least some of the data has indicated that humidity, temperature, climate, has had an effect on some of these inflaters. are you folks doing testing on virtually every client.
scenario in america, different regions of the country because it changes from season to season and region to region of the country, so are you looking for things other than humidity, like dryness, you know, whatever -- >> it's a very good question. i can't go as far -- from the humid areas, but also -- you know, different samples to look at. and that's what we're doing. >> mr. chairman, i'm prepared to yield back, but let me just make this statement. again, coming from an automotive supplier like myself and i appreciate your candor, but i think it's a little bit short sided to say we can't test for
all the different climate conditions in the country. if we know these inflaters are affected by humidity, we don't know what other climate conditions affect the inflaters as well. with that, i yield back. >> thank you. does the gentleman from texas dr. burgess have any questions? >> i am anxious to hear from our next witness. >> thank you. there has been a request from the full committee chair, therefore, by my set of rules, he is -- >> just to pose another question. you know, there's been a number of different articles that have been written over the last number of weeks regarding secret tests and i will give you this for the record. this is a cnbc story. and it reads early, the japanese manufacturer takata secretly conducted tests on 50 air bags that it retrieved from scrap yards according to two former employees, one of whom was senior member of its testing lab.
results were so startling that engineers began starting possible fixes in preparation for a recall but instead of alerting federal safety regulators to possible danger, takata executive discounted the risk and allowed them to delete the testing data from their computers and dispose of the inflater air bag in the trash. "usa today," other publications have reported similar stories. chris martin from honda said in a statement, this is a serious allegation about actions taken by takata. it is our intention to determine whether anyone at honda has any evidence that these claims are credible, so i'm anxious just to get a quick response. but more disturbing, of course, is the takata spokesperson declined to comment on the
disclosure of the testing. so, if i could just hear from takata and honda briefly, if you'd like to respond in writing, you can, but i'm -- i'm truly troubled by these stories, which is what helped lead us to this hearing today. and we'll be asking similar questions of nhtsa, who follows you now. i ask for the indulgence of the committee to get a response and -- >> congressman, you mentioned mr. march tirngs honda representative quoted in there. we are continuing to look and to see if we have any reason to add any credibility to that. up to this point, sir, as i sit here, i cannot add any credibility to that. we will continue to look and -- but i don't know of any honda awareness of that testing in 2004.
>> and this story indicates the testing was done in auburn hills, that's in michigan. of course, this was about the time that we were doing the tread act, which was a pretty big story in michigan. >> congressman, my response to your question is, first, we don't conduct any secret tests during 2004, however according to our record, we conducted a series of tests in 2004 because of cushion issues. we have some cushion tears issues that happened and actually nhtsa, one is founded during their test. and then nhtsa informed to automakers and then request us to do a series of tests with limited time. we asked series of test because of cushion tears, not inflarts. we don't use any inflater from junkyard either.
so i think that is -- as a fact is, we did conduct a series of tests because of cushion issues. actually, nhtsa knows about it because we got the notice from nhtsa. after we finished the test we found the root cause, which is the operation between press cover and cushions that create -- weaken the cushion and cause cushion tears, which was reported back to automakers and nhtsa and automaker end up to do the actual recall later in 2004. >> when was it reported to nhtsa? >> i believe it's during 2004. it's from automakers because they have to do the recall. and i believe november 2004. >> if you could confirm that in writing before the end of the week, we'd certainly appreciate it. >> yes. we can get back to the subcommittee by the end of this -- by the end of this, yes.
>> yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. now the ranking member has one additional question as well. >> mr. schostek, another news report from november in the "new york times" that reported after 2004 air bag rupture in a honda vehicle, your company reached a nonpublic settlement agreement with the injured party and also reported that you reached nonpublic settlement agreements after three air bag ruptures in 2007. so i'm just wondering how many settlements like that there are and if you yourself feels required- the company itself feels required to inform nhtsa or the public about these nonpublic settlements.
>> thank you for the question. there certainly are settlements in lawsuits. that's not unusual in our legal system. with regard to these air bag inflaters, we have made nhtsa aware of every inflater rupture that occurred in a honda vehicle. we don't understand -- the confidentiality of legal settlements is part of our system here but that's not to us a reason to -- that's going to cover up any safety information. we are providing the safety information regarding inflaters to nhtsa. >> in all of these particular cases, you did also give nhtsa the information? >> we provided nhtsa information about all inflater ruptures, yes, congresswoman. >> 2004, 2007? >> so, let me just be clear because there's two ways. we have been sharing with nhtsa all information about inflaters. we have fallen short on our tread obligations.
there were eight of them. eight out of the 1700 related to takata air bag -- 8 out of the 1700 related to takata air bag inflater ruptures. did we report those on our tread report? the answer is, no. nhtsa had that information based on our other communications with them. so in our view it did not hinder to continue to investigate as we have since 2007 these takata air bag inflater ruptures. >> so, these legal settlements have nothing to do, you're saying, with the actual reporting of the problem for which the lawsuit arose. >> congresswoman, what i'm saying is we have shared information about takata inflater ruptures with nhtsa. >> okay. thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. that does conclude the questions
for our first panel as discussed throughout, there was mentions of written questions, qfrs. we want to let the panel know it is likely you will have questions, written questions submitted to you. we will do our best to get those to you in a timely manner, which always means a couple of weeks. if you could likewise answer them within a couple of weeks, we would greatly appreciate them and get them back to us. this panel, thank you for your contribution and helping us better understand. obviously, this committee is dedicated to making sure the people driving vehicles are as safe as they can possibly be. i think you share that as well. so, appreciate your time here today. you are dismissed.
here are some of the programs you'll find this weekend on the c-span networks. sunday evening at 8:00 on q&a, politico reporters share stories about being on the campaign trail with senator mitch mcconnell. on c-span 2, saturday night at 10:00 on book tv's jfr wards, lindsay mark lewis on money and politics and how it's grown and changed. and sunday at 10:00 p.m. eastern, shane harris on the military's use of cyber space to wage war. and on "american history tv" on c-span 3, saturday at 2:00, a panel including washington times editor david keene on how ronald reagan's career helped hone his communication skills and be a
successful politician and president. and sunday at 8:00 on the presidency, frank shows his int interview with the president about vietnam, water gait and his resignation. find our schedule at c-span.org and let us know about the programs you're watching. join the c-span conversation, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. tonight on c-span 3, a hearing looks at possible faa regulations of drones. that's followed by a hearing on the use of genetically modified organisms on farms and in food products. in august a federal aviation administration missed a deadline for writing rules for drones to prevent interference with regular air traffic. this week an faa official
testified at a house hearing that the missed deadline means e comprehensive rules won't be made until 2017 at the earliest. this hearing of the subcommittee on aviation is two hours. good morning, the committee will come to order. would like to ask unanimous consent that members not on the committee in addition to members not on the subcommittee be permitted to sit with the subcommittee at today's hearing. there's a great deal of interest and offer testimony and asked questions. without objection, so ordered. would like to thank all of you for being here. the united states has been the global leader in aviation. we're all very proud of that. the american leadership in manufacturing, air transportation, flight safety and technological innovation is tremendous.
the aviation industry contributes billions of dollars to our economy, supports millions of jobs throughout our country and is a source of pride for all americans. unmanned aerial systems have been increasingly in the news. but they are not new. it's been almost 100 years since the u.s. military began developing the first uas. uas offers excite. ing opportunities and daunting challen challenges. the previous faa reauthorization law contained provisions directing the faa to take steps towards safely integrating into our nation's air space by september 2015. among other things we directed the faa to create test sites and regulations for uas. the results, so far, appear to be mixed. and i look forward to hearing from our witnesses today on the faa's efforts. there are many issues surrounding uas we need to consider. first and foremost and it's
always been safety. our nation's safety record is the result of decades of hard work by thousands and also some hard lessons learned. safety is the cornerstone of u.s. aviation industry and without it the uas industry cannot succeed, period. thus i'm concerned when i read in "the washington post" that the faa is receiving about 25 reports each month about uas flying too close to the aircraft. sometimes even near. major airports. protecting privacy is equally important as we further deploy uas whether by individual hobbyists or in commercial applications. i know the faa and aviation industry are taking the issue very seriously, and congress will continue to be actively engaged. we can all agree represents a tremendous economic opportunity. the faa estimates that 89 to 90
billion will be invested globally in uas over the next ten years and major u.s. companies have begun investing in uas technology in a major way. there are many valuable applications in real estate, agriculture, medical transport and infrastructure maintenance with many more on the horizon. it's not hard to imagine uas making existing industries more efficient in give. ing rise to entirely new ones. all of this could mean new jobs and vast economic opportunities for the american people if we do this right. so it also concerns me when i read in the "wall street journal" about major u.s. companies taking their uas research and development activities to foreign countries such as canada and australia because faa regulations are too burdensome and too slow. it also concerns me that the road builders in germany and
farmers in france today are enjoying economic benefits from uas because safety regulators there have found ways to permit such flights. i can't fhelp but wonder if the germans, french and canadians do some of these things today, then why can't we also be doing them. are they smarter than us? i don't think so. are they better than us? i u don't think so. so we really need these questions answered. i hope to get a better understand i understanding of this issue during today's hearing. as i said earlier, safety is paramount and the challenges are difficult. but if there is a country that is up to the challenge of safe uas integration, it is certainly the united states of america. we have the very best engineers, the most creative miepds minds and to ensure american leadership in aviation in the decades ahead. i know this because many of our
best and brightest minds in aviation work at the faa's technical center flagship, which is in my district. the faa tech center is a one-stop shop for the best and brightest to research, develop, demonstrate and validate new aviation technologies and data sources. it's had a role in many advances many flight safety including air traffic control, which is key to safe uas integration. it's a place where new ideas are developed and old ones are improved. work on uas is underway already and i fully expect their contributions will continue and they will be invaluable i'm interest interested in hearing today where we are in terms of the uas industry and what lies ahead, what progress the government has or hasn't made and what industry an faa need and how we in congress can help as we consider the next faa reauthorization bill. and a talk with mr. larson and
members of the committee, we're really looking at this very closely because as we prepare the next faa authorization bill, we're going to be looking for some substantial improvements in this particular area and we'll be looking at specific language, if necessary, if we don't see these advances in a timely way. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses on these topics and thank them for joining us today. before i recognize my colleague mr. larson for his comments, i'd like to ask unanimous con sent that all legislative to advise and extend remarks and material for the hearing. without objection, so ordered. >> thank you for calling today's hearing on unmanned systems, integration oversight and competitiveness. i appreciate you holding this hearing of our request and safety is and must be the number one priority.
certainly is mine and yours as well. we have looked at unmanned aircraft systems twice earlier this year but the report of collisions between uas and manned aircraft operations are safe, both of those in the air and on the ground. the uas industry has great potential to drive economic growth and create jobs including in washington state where i'm from which is an epicenter of r&d. the faa says it receives 25 reports each month from pilots who have seen unmanned aircraft operating near their aircraft including some near collisions. but we rise to challenges, we do not shrink from them. i want you to consider these headlines with cautionary tales. planes crash in air, man killed, that's from the wyoming state
tribune. crash in air kills two when machines collide in practice flight. the headlines are from 1917 and 1920. i found more than 80 stories of this kind alone written before 1921. it could have cause d the publi to give in on developing things that fly, that they used to call machines. but we didn't. had we given up then, we wouldn't have the system that we have today. so while our near collision headlines reflect undenial challenges that must be addressed, we have to keep moving forward to ensure progress and competitiveness. let's be clear integration must never come at the expense of safety. to guide this effort, the last authorization set authority requirements to safely integrate uas into international air space. we heard concerns they are not moving quickly enough. the department of transportation
and inspector general reported in june that faa completed work for the milestones, but that agency was behind schedule in remaining milestones. the bill required by august 14th of this year. we expect that rule soon. the bill also required faa to establish six test ranges. however, while the test ranges are up and running, we continue to hear from stake holders they are being utilized. we have to give credit where credit is due and the faa is proceeding with caution and is making some progress. for example, section 333 of the act gave the authority to authorize certain operations on an interim basis. using this authority and granted several exemptions including
some this morning. we must assure it allows operations to operate safely. we also r heard concerns from other countries have more flexible environments to test. so while we must hold safety paramount, we do not want to fall needlessly behind. privacy is another major concern and must be addressed. i share the public's concern about aerial surveillance from operators and work to ensure these concerns are adjusted for proper channels. we have seen faa make progress ob on capabilities with bipartisan support. our work on next jen shows the necessity of faa's collaboration with stake holders, especially pilots and air traffic controllers, who will be directly affected by new technologies. our goal should be to keep safe integration on track so that we're not here in 2024 talking about a plan to integrate uas
into the air space. finally, mr. chairman, i would like to ask unanimous consent to write miter into the record. input is critical. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i look forward to hearing from our panelists about why we're here today, and to ensure safety, thank you. >> very pleased to welcome the chairman of the full committee and thank him for his tremendous interest and involvement in this issue and the faa authorization bill. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm going to start by saying welcome to our panel here today. i'm interested in hearing your testimony and your views on this issue. but i share the views on safety. safety is simply paramount. that has to be first and foremost. we in congress are very interested in uas in the last
bill we directed the faa to safely integrate that by september 2015. but the industry cannot develop unless it's proven safe and based on the opening statements by the chairman and the ranking member, republicans and democrats are united in our views about the priority and importance of safety. we also understand that uas are an exciting technology with the potential to transform part os of our economy. i'm intrigued by how uas might improve our modes of transportation. for example, uas might be used for certain kind of bridge inspections without closing lanes for traffic stopping or requiring workers to have to climb up to high places to do inspections. the uas can survey 180 acres of land in less than an hour. uas can safely get more out of the buck.
with that in mind, it's our responsibility to look at this technology. i know there are some challenges to get this right. they are up to the challenge to ensure the united states retains its lead in technology. as we work towards safe integration, we can't let a few irresponsible individuals jeopardize the safety of the many and set back a potentially promising technology. i'm glad you're here today and thank you for holding this hearing, and i yield back. >> want to thank our distinguished panel of witnesses today. our first panel will include the associate administrator for aviation safety for the federal aviation administration. certainlily all things uas. mr. matthew hampton, assistant inspector general for aviation audits for the u.s. department of transportation office of
inspector general. dr. gerald diling ham, director of civil aviation issues for the u.s. government accountability office. captain lee, who is president of airline pilots association. mr. jesse kal man. >> we welcome your remarks. >> thank you, chairman, for the opportunity to appear before the subcommittee to discuss unmanned aircraft systems. in the reform act, congress mandated the safe and integration of uas into the national air space system. the administrator in announcing his initiative identified integration of uas and commercial space operations as one of his top priorities and we are working hard to meet those mandates. in the act, congress mandated that the secretary of transportation consult with
government partners and industry stake holders to develop a comprehensive plan for uas integration. the documents set out a phased approach that must be carried out thoughtfully to ensure safety is not kprcompromised. we announced sites to aid in uas integration. as required, we set out to have one test site operation within six months of election. we surpassed that goal within four months and three more sites operational within six months of their selections. now all six sites are fully operational and have established their research agendas. the data and information from the test sites will help answer key questions about how unmanned aircraft systems in the air space as well as with air traffic control. the faa technical center in atlantic city is playing a key
role in analysis and will continue to make significant contributions to uas integrations to identify the data that will be most useful. we are moving forward through rule making as mandated by. the act, the rule making to permit civil operation of small uas in the air space. we all agree that project is taking too long. i'm pleased to say we believe we have a balanced proposal that's currently under executive review. in the meantime and consistent with the act, we're looking at activities that do not pose risk to others that operate in the air space to the general public or to national security and can be operated safely without a certificate. once the secretary of transportation is able to make that determination, faa then grants relief from other operating regulations. we have authorized 11 operators including five exemptions we have issued today to conduct commercial activity in the national air space covering
activities such as surveying, inspection and movie making. we continue to facilitate the use by public entities. for more than two decades, faa for important safety missions. working closely with the departments of defense and other agencies who are taking advantage of the extensive federal investment made in these systems. in addition, more than 35 law enforcement agencies now operate unmanned aircraft under certificates of authorization. we are also working with law enforcement agencies to address the unauthorized use of uas for they are often in the best position to help us deter, detect and investigate such activities. we are working hard to educate about the requirements for national air space and e we believe opportunities like this will help in that endeavor. but that has proven to be a challenge. unlike traditional manned aircraft, unmanned aircraft are
available for purchase by individuals who may not realize that they are entering the national air space system or must comply with regulations. they may not appreciate the significant safety risk that is presented by unauthorized or unsafe uas operations in the air space. just as you directed in the 2012 act, faa can and will take enforcement action against anyone who operates a usa in a way that endangers the space. but we continue to lead with education because we believe the vast majority of operators want to comply with faa regulators. recently formed by the civil u aviation organization. the u.s. will be leading the way to establish standards and recommended practices, procedures and guidance materials to facilitate the safe
integration of remotely piloted systems around the world. together with our international partners, we will facilitate integration at the international level while continuing to lead the world in aviation safety. mr. chairman, this concludes my testimony. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you very much. mr. hampton? >> members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify today on faa efforts to integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the air space system. the increasing demand for systems has enormous economic implications and competitive implications for our nation. as you know, the modernization and reform act was a catalyst for technology. the act directed faa to take steps to integration with the goal of technology by 2015. in june we reported on efforts and made 11 recommendations specifically aimed at faa to more effectively meet the goals.
my testimony today will focus on faa's progress in implement iin the provisions and the challenges that the agency faces in safely integrating technology. to date faa completed more than half of the 17 requirements in the act. this includes selecting the test sites as well as publish iing a road map outlining agency plans. in addition, using the authority granted in the act faa recently authorized 11 companies to operate uas in the commercial operations. however, faa is behind schedule on the remaining requirements. many of which are key to advancing u.s. integration. for example, faa missed the 2014 deadline for issuing a final rule on small systems. these are systems weighing less than 55 pounds. while faa expects to issue a proposed rule soon, it will likely generate a significant amount of comment. s that they need to consider.
as a result, it's uncertain when a final rule will be published. faa will not meet the acts goal to safely integrate technology by september 2015. as faa works to implement the provisions, they also face significant technological, regulatory and management challenges. on the technological front, the evolution of technology is paramount. also the risks of scenarios when an operator loses connectivity with an unmanned aircraft remains high. further more, establishing secure radio frequency spectrum to support communications has also proven difficult to address. faa, dod and nasa have several important research projects underway but it remains unclear when the technology will be robust enough to support safe operations. regulatory challenges has also affected progress to date. although faa is authorized limited operations on a case by
case basis, is not yet positioned to certify civil operations on a large scale. faa has worked with a special committee for more than nine years but has not yet reached consensus with stake holders on minimum performance and e design standards for technology. much work remains to set requirements for pilot and crew qualifications, ground control stations and communication linked for systems. finally, i'd like to turn to the management challenges in areas that need significant attention. faa lacks training, tools and procedures air traffic controllers need to manage operations. faa also lacks databases to analyze data from current u.s. operators and a severity base for incident reporting. data from faa's test sites will provide critical information related to certification, air traffic control and technology i discussed earlier.
all of these can inform decisions when advanced progress. other important and much-needed steps include publication of the small rule and developing an integrated budget document that clearly identifies funding requirements in the near and midterm. in conclusion, uas will be and remain a front and center issue that requires significant management attention. it remains uncertain when and at what pace u.s. technology can be fully and safely e integrated into our air space. now is the time to build on the knowledge base to make informed decisions, set priorities, identify critical path issues and develop the basic regulatory framework for integrating technology into national air space system. we will continue to monitor progress on these issues and keep the subcommittee apprised of our efforts. mr. chairman, this concludes my prepared statements. i'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you, mr. hampton.
we'll leave it at that for right now. dr. diling ham? >> mr. chairman, members of the subcommittee, my statement this morning is based on our ongoing work for this subcommittee and focuses on three areas. first, faa's progress towards meeting the unmanned systems provisions of the 201 faa ret r reauthorization act. second, key research in development activities needed to support unmanned systems integration and third, how other countries have progressed towards integrated unmanned systems into their air space. regarding the provisions of the 2012 act, the act included 17 specific provisions for faa to achieve safe integration by september 2015. while faa has completed most of the provisions, the key ones remain an additional actions are needed to leverage a completed
provision for the integration efforts. for example, a critical step for allowing commercial operations is a publication of the final rule. to develop the rule faa must publish a proposed rule. you heard it's been delayed. given the time that's generally required for rule making and the tens of thousands of comments expected on this, the consensus of opinion is the integration of unmanned systems will likely slip from the mandated deadline of september 2015 until 2017 or even later. the delay in the final rules could contribute to unmanned systems continue to operate unsafely ill and legally and lead to additional activities for faa's scarce resources.
additionally, without unmanned system rules, u.s. businesses may continue o to take their testing and research and development activities outside of the u.s. regarding research and development activities, the key technology issue remains the same as they have been since the beginning of the era, including detection, command and control, and spectrum issues. there are a wide range of stake holders involved and there's been some notable progress. including the establishment of the test value. our preliminary work suggests that this development has nod lived up to its promise. the test site operators told us that they were significantly jurnd utilized by faa and the private sector and that they
were unclear as to what research and development and operational data was needed by faa to support the integration initiatives. however, our preliminary work suggests that it has provided some guidance to the test sites regarding the research and development and data needs. federal law prevents them from task i tasking the test sites for specific data. according to faa, the law does not allow the agency to give directions to the site or accept voluntary services without payment. as we continue our study, we will be trying to better understand the relationship between the test sites, faa and the needed research and development and how the test sites can achieve the best use. regarding development in foreign countries, as in the case in the u.s., many countries around the world allow commercial operation. s under some restrictions. also similar to the u.s., foreign countries are
experiencing problems with illegal and unsafe, unmanned syst systems operations. however, a study in our preliminary observations have revealed that several countries including japan, australia, united kingdom and canada have progressed further than the united states with regulation supporting commercial operations for small, unmanned vehicles. our ongoing study for this subcommittee will look further at the experiences of other countries for potential lessons learned for the united states. mr. chairman, ranking member larson and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. >> thank you, dr. dillingham.
>> thank you, chairman, ranking members for the opportunity to provide our perspectives on the critical importance of safely integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the national air space system. our country's national air space is the most dynamic and diverse on the planet and also want to underscore this, the safest. we need to protect it and maintain it to deliver the safest, most sufficient air transportation possible. . uas and remotely piloted aircraft systems include aircraft ranging in the size from a small bird to as large as an airliner. some uas aircraft operate completely autonomously. the flight route is computer programmed and the device operates without a pilot. other uas air u craft are flown remotely from an operational center or control stations that
can be located at the launch and recovery site or perhaps thousands of miles away. supports the safe use of unmanned aircraft systems. we recognize the potential benefit to our nation's economic competitiveness, but we also recognize the potential for a safety risk if we don't treat them as what they are, airplanes in air space. we have all scene photos of the damage that can be caused to an airplane by a bird strike in flight. unmanned aircraft can be much smaller or much larger than birds, but they harbor added risk in that they carry batteries, motors and other hard metal components. this was a bird strike. please take a look at this on a commercial airplane and this next photo of a military airplane's encount er with an unmanned aerial vehicle headed in the wing root. we must not allow pressure to
integrate uas into the nas to rush a process that must be solely focused on safety. standards and technologies must be in place to ensure the same high level of safety that's currently present in the nas before it can be authored to occupy the same air space as airliners are operating areas that might stray in the air space used by commercial flig s flights. we also need to make certain that uas pilots are proper ly trained and understand the consequences of possible malfunctions. now i knew i would be speaking before you today, so i went online last thursday and purchased this quad copter for a couple hundred dollars. as the marketing promised, it was ready to fly in a few minutes and i was flying it in my office. now this uas can carry a camera,
it has a gps which with the purchase of additional software can be used to preprogram a flight plan. it has the capability, this one, to fly as high as 6,600 feet for 15 minutes. that means it could easily end up in the same air space when i'm approaching at newark or any other airport. if we took this aircraft out in the courtyard, it has the capability to fly from this courtyard to the final approach path at reagan national airport and from the park at the end of the runway, that's reagan airport, that's that gravely park, you can see it would be even easier to fly into the aircraft zone. now a well-trained and experienced flight crew is the most important safety component of the commercial air transportation system. a pilot in the cockpit of an aircraft can e see, feel, smell
and hear indications of the a problem and begin to formulate a course of action long before the most sophisticated indicators verify trouble. without a pilot on board, we lose this advantage. as a result, it's essential that uas pilots are highly trained, qualified and monitored to meet the equivalent standards of pilot who is operate manned aircraft. we also need to make certain that a uas aircraft can't stray into areas that pose as a hazard if the operator loses control that if there's a failure the aircraft doesn't endanger other people on the ground. if uas is intended to be operated in civil air space or could unintentionally be flown in our space, pilots need to be able to see them and controllers need the ability to see them on the radar scopes.
aircraft also need to be equipped with collision avoidance capability. finally, the faa resources are limited and the agency must have a long-term sustained source of funding as well as realistic time lines in a systemic approach that builds the path of integration based on safety. we appreciate the opportunity to testify today. we look forward to working with congress to ensure that safety is held paramount in bringing uas into the national air space. >> thank you, captain. >> chairman, ranking member larson, and members of the s subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify here today. i'm the head of business development and regular tear affairs for air ware, a san francisco-based company developing unmanned aircraft enabling companies to collect, analyze data for a growing number of applications around the world. air ware has raised over $40
million and our team has more than doubled over the last year. i also serve on the board of the the small uav coalition which was formed to promote safe commercial operations of small uavs in the united states. this is a critical time. small coalition and others in the community would like to ensure that the united states becomes the global leader for commercial uav development and operations while maintaining the safest air space in the world. today i will focus on three key issues for this subcommittee. one, the current state of uav technology and potential implications in a variety of industries. the need for a risk-based approach to regulations. third, the effective current and expected regulations on u.s. businesses. first, the uav industry is the fastest growing market here in the united states. many here today may be familiar with the consumer uavs used for
photography. i would like to focus on the biggest problems across a variety of industries. they are being used for a disaster management. oil and gas exploration, search and rescue, surveying of crops. these uavs are equipped with many features to ensure safety and reliability of operations. such as geofencing systems, which keep a uav within certain altitude and distance limits as well as away from sensitive areas. also management systems, which in the case of an issue on board the aircraft, enable the uav to automatically return to a safe landing location. these technologies are developing at an increasingly rapid rate and safe operations today. in addition, nasa is working to develop a uas traffic management system to provide a means for safely managing a lot of these syste systems. through my past experience work at the faa, i understand the challenge in regulating this new technology in the united states.
there are steps we can be taking to open up environments now. most commercial uav operations will take place below 400 feet. this brings me to my second point. we must take a new approach to regulating uavs. for example, a small aircraft at 300 feet would be subject to minimal requirements where as a larger would require highly reliable i'vonics, additional training, and fail safe mechanisms like a parachute. these are the types of risk models being allowed to use in europe today including france. i'm pleased that the faa recently stated its intentions to shift to this model. ai plaud them for this it, but the question is how quickly can it be implemented. finally, i'd like to discuss the effective delayed regulations on u.s. businesses.
az mentioned, france allows as well as many other countries. the united states typically a leader in aviation is one of only a few countries that prohibits commercial uav operations. while we wait, small and large businesses in the united states are moving uav test iing and operations abroad, where regulations are are more advanced. draed and overly restrictive regulations aren't just slowing the growth of the industry. many of the largest industries and corporations in america see this technology as key for remaining competitive in the global marketplace. strategic investment from one of the largest corporations in america, general electric, who could use in their business units. the farm bureau noted that u.s. farmers will not be able to keep up with foreign competitors if they are not allowed to use the same technology. it will have a major impact on our economy. in the first three years of integration, conservative estimates include creating 70,000 jobs and $13.6 billion
into the economy. with each year of integration delays, the u.s. loses more than $10 million in potential economic impact. we want the jobs, economic benefits and core intellectual property to be here in the united states. we know that no matter the outcome today, uav technology will create jobs. it will save lives and grow the economies of those countries with the foresight to act. the united states is poised to lead the way for this changing industry. we have the tall enlt and the workforce to create the technology needed to safety integrate. let's act quickly before major opportunities are lost. thank you and i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you. >> chairman, ranking member larson, members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the unmanned aviation industry in the united states. i'm a professor in the defendant
at m.i.t. i lead a research program on unmanned vehicles with a focus on unmanned flight in urban, civilian or populated environments. most recently i worked with goog toll fund project wing, a package delivery system. i returned to m.i.t. full-time in september of this year. i'm speaking solely for myself. my main message today is that the u.s. does lead the world in development, but both testing the next wave of technology and training the next generation of engineers are more difficult in the u.s. than in other countries. let me explain further. firstly, the issues around small commercialization are quite different compared to large military uavs. large uavs are safe and reliable as manned aircraft. it's the unquestioned leader in the space so i'm going to focus on civil use. the vast majority of small uavs are toy aircraft such as model airplanes. this current generation of small uavs exist because of advances in technologies. leading to smaller, cheaper that
are easier for anyone to fly. . there are many companies, but right now they can fly u simple missions with the same reliability as a toy. a lot of example uses have made the news, but are for the most part pro toe types. the current civil market around the world are tiny. hundreds to a couple thousand vehicles at best. there are real technology gaps. the recent call for center of excellence is a pretty good road map for what technology is needed for growth. let me give you some examples. most people know what it's like for the gps to get confused. this can and does happen to uavs too. they need sensors to let them know where they are at all times. they need to know about ground obstacles and avoid collisions. we need to ensure the pilot and can control at all times. the air traffic management infrastructure must grow to
coordinate the number flying through the national air space system at any altitude. an unmanned vehicle only makes sense when the operational cost is less than a manned aircraft. on board intelligence is needed to drive down the human labor costs in more applications. another wave of technology is required to scale up emergency response or package delivery. u.s. researchers and companies lead in these technology areas. we do have a demonstrated track record. but there are hurdles. firstly, from the right cycle exchange 100 years ago in ohio to hew lit packard, the most successful technology companies in the world is a small team of investors tinkering in a garage. the point is not the garage itself, but it gives the ability to test anywhere that is safe and this accelerates the development cycle. unfortunately it's hardered to test in the u.s. than in other countries. it's not impossible. there are a number of mechanisms, but there's a considerable bar to industry. the current processes might be
right for authorizing a pipeline inspection service across north dakota, but their owners for a ba basic technology. there isn't a single set of rules that can be adopted from another country that would work here, but there may be ideas to be learned. a clear definition instead of a case by case approval process will let engineers know where they can set up and start to work. secondly, and perhaps most importantly, the leadership depends on our ability to train engineers and scientists with the scales necessary to develop the technologies. there are a growing number of universiti universities teaching technol y technologies to undergrads. there are too few and the cost is substantial. the same processes that inhibit access limit our our institutions provide training in uav technology. further more, the support for basic research in technologies
is diminishing. the progress in the u.s. has been funded by forward thinking program managers. these program managers have not only funded the technology to fund the students that is running on uavs today. universities outside the u.s. are acting as training grounds for a generation of researchers and as incubators for companies. led me conclude by saying that the u.s. is not currently lagging other countries rega regardless of the publicity. the same technical hurdles will need to be overcome in any country before they become a reality. nevertheless, there are issues and constraints in this country that may allow other countries to overtake the u.s. in training the generation of engineers required to carry out that development. thank you very much for this opportunity. >> thank you. chairman shoouser? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you all for being here. we appreciate you bringing your expertise here. i think it's important to point
out that on this subcommittee, on the full committee, we have members that have expertise, we have pilots on this subcommittee. i think i have them all down here. scott perry, we're going to be joined by another pilot. and jeff denim when he served in the air force was an aircraft mechanic. and our council is a pilot. so we have a lot of expertise here, a lot of folks that understand what you're saying and so i think it's going to be important as we move forward listening to you but listening to the experts that we have here on the subcommittee is very beneficial to us. i'm happy that they are here and with us and able to help us guide us through this. first question to captain moak, in your written testimony, you stated that commercial operators should hold a commercial pilots license and instrument ratings.
we heard that the skills are different, significantly different than those to fly a passenger jet. some parts of the curriculum really seem to have little relevance to flying u.s. for example, operators need to master stall and recovery techniques in a cessna if they plan on flying. what would be the relevance there? how would it benefit safety? is there a scientific basis for your recommendation? >> so even on another committee i sat on, we had the air force where they were working initially all their uas pilots over the last several years were coming out of the pilot pipeline. but the need for more operators for the u.s. air force increased, they set up a separate uas track, which you may be familiar with. in that track, they do go through all the basic skills of
flying for a couple reasons. one is to understand when they are in the air space and the other is to make sure they are operating the uas properly. so the air force has briefed us on that. we think it's a good model. with what the faa has been doing, treating these as an airplane and going through a process of certificating the aircraft, certificating the operator, the person trying to operate it, the company, and certificating the pilots and then monitoring and oversight of all that is one of the foundations of having a continuing with a safe national air space. so should they be able to recover from a stall or each of that, i think there's room for that in any curriculum, i agree with you on that. we need to be focused on the safety part of that. >> to modify it, if it doesn't
make sense. the second thing is we have some reports from newspapers and other media sources that leaking out some of the proposed rule make i making. this it question to, there appears to be not be permitted to operate beyond the line of sight. if that were the case, my concern is it would almost eliminate the benefits that a uas system brings to us. can you comment beyond the line of sight? >> there's new stories all the time. one at jfk and one the heathrow. this would have been different. catastrophic, and we would have a different hearing today. i think what's important is if it's going to be operated in that method that you're talking about, there needs to be a way
to have pilots that are flying be able to see it and it's very difficult, if not impossible, to see this because much like other things in the air, if there's not relative motion, your eye can't all right? and on the air space issues, for example, for helicopters, you know, 500 feet and below is where helicopters, life flight and lots of other planes operate. so i would just suggest this. if we're going to be operating it beyond line of sight in densely -- in dense areas, big sky, little airplane but lots of airplanes, there needs to be a way for air traffic control to see it, for the airplanes to see it, for the person who's operating it to be able to communicate with air traffic control and with the airplanes in the area. i believe with that, you could easily operate beyond line of sight. then the only other thing -- and we have experts over here. if you're in an area that's not
populated by other airplanes, then, of course, you could operate it in that manner, but the only thing would be what do you do with a lost link which has happened quite a bit in the military. >> can you tell, based on what captain moak said there -- >> i think this gets back to what i said earlier in taking a reduced risk approach. there are higher risks but you can mitigate that through technology. for example in france today what they're doing for beyond line of sight operations, thissy are only operating at very low altitudes where there isn't general aviation or traffic and they're enhancing it with cameras on board where an operator can actually see if there's other traffic in the area to the point on lost link scenarios they're utilizing technology i mentioned earlier for contingency management, so in the case where you do lose link with your operator, you're able to preprogram in so they
know how to respond in those cases. depending on what the area is, what the environment is, it knows what a safe location is to return to. so these are the types of technologies that are already in place today. >> mr. chairman, wonder if you'll yield me one more minute to let mr. roy respond to that. he's worked with google and m.i.t. >> so my answer's very consistent with the previous two answers in the sense that beyond line of sight is eminently doable a. a risk-based profile makes a lot of sense. it's more feasible in unpopulated environments or where you have some notion of what the air space contains, the technology issues are very consistent loss of link needs to be a contingency plan loss of link is a challenge maintaining situational aair wans as a vehicle returns, that's a technology question that needs to be addressed but these are eminently doable. >> thank you very much. for the benefit of the faa, to me it was loud and clear, safety is paramount. i think we all agree with that. this can be done. and as we move forward, making sure that we're looking at the
technology and the safety aspect that, again, one size doesn't fit all. thank you. >> mr. larson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm going to focus my initial questions on this end of the table. i know folks on my side will have some questions for folks down here. but i want to talk a little bit about the technology side. and it is dr. roy, have you looked at the use of the six test sites and made any assessment about whether they're being used as much as they can and if you have made that assessment, what would you suggest be done otherwise? >> so out of these six test sites are not my area of expertise. i haven't personally done an assessment. m.i.t. was heavily involved. and i got back to m.i.t. this september. so been a bit busy. haven't looked at what's available there. but we hope to be playing there
soon. >> given your research and course of study, what would be an ideal environment? >> so that's a good question. one of the limitations i think is the distance with which one has to go in order to get to the test sites, and the -- i guess the onus on setting up operations there. in an ideal world, i describe in my written testimony the ability to designate local test areas anywhere, local flight areas anywhere test areas have clear rules so that for instance if you are more than 150 -- i'm picking these numbers entirely arbitrarily but 150 meters from people on the ground or ground structure and you have secured the air space, then if you had the ability to do that, then that would allow, you know, presumably you could not do that in downtown cambridge but you could go farther afield to an area where you can take your students more easily than going
to griffiths air space and fly. >> do you have comments on generally what an ideal environment for these test sites would look like? >> absolutely. >> how would they operate, that is. >> i agree. i think the important thing for test sites is the ease of access to that small companies, large companies all have the same opportunities to go utilize the air space. obviously safety is of utmost importance. so being able to do that safely through, for example, issuing a note to other operators in the area so they understand there's testing going on in these areas but ensuring that these areas are able for companies to get that approval and utilize that space quickly and rapidly and at low cost to these companies. >> we'll talk to the test sites about whether that's happening as well as some of the stakeholders. you talked a little bit about the risk-based approach and what it would look like. is there any scenario where a sector where you can envision a
test to operation scenario? where, you know, like on the armed services committee we sort of broke through the acquisition on certain things to break through the slowness of the pentagon to act on things. is there -- using that model, is there a scenario where we can get to a test to operations scenario at these test sites? certain cases? >> absolutely. i think that could be very valuable. i know organizations like nasa ames are already engaged in looking at things like to allow companies to bring their technology to showcase what it's capable of doing and ensuring that it will respond safely in a variety of different scenarios. i think that will be very important to have and i think that there should be infrastructure for that. >> yeah. dr. roy? >> i completely agree with that. i think that's essential because they're going to be operational scenarios that can't be represented in the test sites. so for instance, as the commercial application of
infrastructure inspection, package delivery and so on, they're going to require more urban environments for testing, and so as we stand up those markets, the test to operation is going to be an important part of that. >> yeah. and then want to come down to ms. gilligan about on the test sites, air worthiness representatives. you designate one for nevada test site. what about the others and is that something that test sites need to request or is faa trying to conclude that they ought to have these? >> we've offered that as a tool, a technique for the test sites to be able to expand attracting industry into those locations, and so we did it in nevada. we've offered the training to all the test sites. they've not yet offered a candidate to that training. they're ready whenever they're training. after the training, the designee
needs to demonstrate they'll have the skill that will be done with one of our engineers. after that the designee will be able to actually approve the operation of the vehicle for the test sites. we think that will help to expand the attraction for industry to come to those test sites. >> this is an oda model essentially? >> at this point it's individual designees. it's not necessary to be an organizational designation because there's not that level of demand. certainly if the demand expands and we think an organizational model makes sense we can certainly move to that. >> i yield back, mr. chairman. and look forward to the rest of the question, thanks. >> thank you. ms. gilligan, the question i'm going to try to get to is the effectiveness interaction with faa and the test sites. and there's a lot of faa activity with uas arena, with the test sites in section 333 and so on.
could you explain the respective roles of the faa tech center, the test sites, the centers of excellence, cooperative research and development agreements, section 333 in terms of how they are getting us towards uas integration? seems like there's a lot of stuff out here, but we're getting reports that the test centers are somewhat frustrated because there's not the interaction that they were expecting and we're not getting results. can you talk about this? >> i'd be glad to, mr. chairman. we have biweekly conferences with all of the test sites. so i think we have begun to alleviate some of those early concerns. i do thing the test sites got off to perhaps a slower start than we and they were anticipating as they really came to understand what it was that they'd undertaken. i think we're seeing good movement there. they all have approved coas, they have flight operations
under way, we're expecting information from them but of course the numbers are still small because they're really all just getting under way. i believe the improvement that mr. larson referred to with the ability for the test sites to have a designated air worthiness representative who can work with companies that want to use the test sites, we believe will go a long way to increasing the appeal of the test sites to some of the companies that my colleagues on the panel have talked about who want to do research in these areas. so we think that will be an important improvement as well. >> so does the faa have a plan to use these assets in a coordinated fashion? >> we're looking at what our research needs are and to the extent that the test centers can help us fulfill those and we have funding for that research we'll certainly look to use the test sites. right now faa has not placed research at any of the test sites. these test sites, as i say, were set up in accordance with the intent that we saw in the act, which was to allow