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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 17, 2015 4:00am-6:01am EDT

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as part of a larger plan to make sure the data services we provide to our users are secure. and the users can use our services knowing that the information that they entrust to us is safe. this is an effort we've been taking on over many years and as the technology improves and processing power increases, it's our intention to continue improving the security of our systems. in many different ways encryption is just one technique to make sure that the data's stored with us is in a secured state. let's lots of different ways to secure data besides encryption. i think there's pretty much a consensus in the security community that encryption is a critical and fundamental way to protect users' data from the very thieves identity theft cases, privacy intrusions that law enforcement is interested in investigating. the ensipgs prevents those crimes from lapping in the first instance and we think as a net result, it's a positive thing to
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implement encryption where the products make sense to include encryption. >> yeah. agent littlehale, as you know, when the police search a home or business, officers will provide a copy of a warrant authorizing the search. this might reveal the basic type of investigations whether it involves terrorism or drugs or medicare fraud, but the police don't have to say anything more. i'm told law enforcement has serious concerns about a provision in the lee leahy bill that changes the notice provisions to require law enforcement to go beyond that, potentially divulging specific investigative detail to a target. do you share these concerns about in this bill's notice provisions? why or why not. >> we do, mr. chairman. because we are both concerned that providing greater protection for evidence because it's in digital form is in fact
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not bringing digital evidence in line with evidence in the physical world. and also because when a search warrant is executed in the physical world, we control the access to that warrant. and so notification provisions are one concern. the other concern is that we need to gather access to that evidence in a manner that approximates the time we would if they were in the physical world. >> also, for you and this will be my last question, this country's facing a crisis involving undocumented workers. i'm deeply concerned that the leeds act puts a real burden on law enforcement's ability to investigate crimes committed by undocumented workers. do you know as you know, this bill would limit the enforcement of u.s. warrants obtained to obtain the information of u.s. persons unless the information is stored in the united states. so it could act as a get out of
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jail free card for some undocumented immigrants. do you share my concerns about this aspect of the leeds act should we prevent our local police from searching e-mails or of undocumented workers with a u.s. search warrant if an e-mail provider happens to store those e-mails in another country? >> i certainly share your concern, mr. chairman if we are depend on the m lat process. it's going to take a lot of streamlining just to offer an example of the realities of a practitioners perspective in the golden age of surveillance, there was a case in texas where they were investigating a homicide and thsaut records froa canadian and provider. it took about nine months for those records to be returned through the m lat process in a friendly neighbor country. yes, we have deep concerns about that, mr. chairman. >> the record will remain open
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for one week for questions and other summations. thank you all very much. thank you. >> for a second day, epa zrader gina mccarthy will answer questions on capitol hill about the federal response to the recent colorado gold king mine spill. the epa says it's upon for the discharge of roughly 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater into a tribute of the river. after a contractor retained and managed by the epa cause add accidental breach of the mine. our live coverage at 10:00 a.m.
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eastern on c-span3. then federal reserve chair janet yellen holds a news conference. wall street investors, home buyers and credit card companies all waiting to see if and how the fed plans to raise interest rates. that's live at 2:30 p.m. eastern also on c-span3. our road to the white house coverage of the presidential candidates continues saturday morning with a new hampshire democratic party convention live from manchester. speakers include five presidential candidates. former secretary of state hillary clinton, vermont senator bernie sanders, former governor of rhode island, lincoln chafee, former maryland governor martin o'malley and harvard professor lawrence less sig saturday at 9:309 eastern on c-span, c-span's campaign 2016 taking you on the road to the white house. >> malcolm turnbull is
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australia's newest prime minister after defeating tony abbott in a contest for liberal party leadership. mr. turn bull will be the fourth prime minister of the country since 2013. following the vote he addressed reporters briefly and answered questions on changes to his government, climate change and same-sex marriage. he's joined by julie bishop who remain deputy liberal party leader. this is about 15 minutes. >> very good. thank you, thank you all very much. i'm we're sorry to keep you up so late. this has been a very important day in the life of the nation, are the government and, of course, of our party. as you know, the party room a little while ago elected me as
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leader of the liberal party and re-elected julie as the deputy leader of the liberal party. i wanted to say at the outset what a great debt the nation owes and the party owes, government owes to tony abbott and, of course, to his family, margie and their daughters. that the burden of leadership is a heavy one. tony discharged that as leader of the party and as prime minister of many years now, and achievements of the government that he has led have been formidable. the free trade agreements that have been negotiated represent some of the key foundations of our future prosperity which i'll talk about in a moment. and, of course, restoring the security on our borders has been and extraordinarily important step enabling us, for example, to offer the increased and generous arrangements for syrian
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refugees last week. so i want to thank tony very much indeed for that. can i just say briefly and as i said, the hour is late. i want julie to be able to say something to you, as well. this has been a very important sobering experience today. i'm very humbled by it. i'm very hum bed by the great honor and responsibility that has been given to me today. we need to have in this country and we will have now, an economic vision, a leadership that explains the great challenges and opportunities that we face. describes the way in which we can handle those challenges, seize those opportunities. and does so in a manner that the australian people understand so
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that we are speaking to persuade rather than seeking to lecture. this will be a thoroughly liberal government. it will be a thoroughly liberal government committed to freedom, the individual and the market. it will be focused on ensuring that in the years ahead, as the world becomes more and more competitive and greater opportunities arise, we are able to take advantage of that. the australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innatetive, that is creative. we cannot be defensive. we cannot future proof ourselves. we have to recognize that the disruption that we see driven by technology, the volatility and change is our friend. is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it. there has never been a more
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exciting time to be alive than today. and there has never been a more exciting time to be an australi australian. we will ensure that all australians understand that their government recognizes the opportunities of the future and is putting in place the policies and the plans to enable them to take advantage of it. now, julie. >> thank you. and i realize the hour is late. first i want to congratulate my very dear friend of many years, malcolm turnbull on being voted in as the leader of the liberal party. that means he will become the prime minister of this country. i'm confident that he has the passion, the energy and the vision to lead this country at this very challenging time. i thank tony abbott for his service as the leader of our party and particularly for the effort that he put in at the
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2013 election when the australian people knew they could not afford another moment under the rud gillard rud government. it's a great honor to be elected as the deputy of this party again. i have served as the deputy for eight years. and i have also for the last two years had the honor of being australia's foreign minister. i'm excited about continuing to be as the deputy under malcolm turnbull's leadership and i am thrilled as the protect of continuing to serve the australian people as the foreign minister. i came into the liberal party and came into parliament because i believed in the values of the liberal party because i believe that they provide the most hope for the most people in this country. and as a believer in the liberal party that was created by robert
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men disease, i am firmly of the view that the values and beliefs of the liberal party are as relevant today as they were when this great party was formed seven years ago. in malcolm turnbull, we have a leader who will be true to those menzian values and beliefs and i'll be honored to be this party and this country in my current role. >> we'll just tick a couple of questions. mr. curry. >> i know it's early days but is it your intention to serve the full term or do you think we'll need to go to an early election to receive your own mandate as prime minister from the people? >> my assumption is that the parliament will serve its full term sorry. >>. >> reporter: who will your treasurer be and do you envisage changes to policy substance as well as leadership style? >> there will be inevitably, there will be -- there will be changes to administerial
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arrangements. i'll be meeting with the ministry tomorrow morning. the -- i expect -- well, ministers will continue in their current position unless they choose not to for the balance of the week. we'll make ministerial changes after the parliament sitting week is over. hang on, hang on, just let me finish. lust just let me finish. as far as policy changes are concerned, let me just say this. it's not a question of leadership style. nothing -- well, there are few things more important in any organization than its culture. culture of our leadership is going to be one that is thoroughly consultive. a traditional thoroughly traditional cabinet government
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that ensures that we make decisions in a collaborative manner. the prime minister of australia is not a president. the prime minister is the first among equals. and that -- and you can see the partnership between me and julie, the partnership with our colleagues will be a very clear cultural demonstration that we are operating in a traditional cabinet manner. and that means, lenore, that i'm not going to make policy pronouncements from this podium tonight. of course, policies change. they change all the time. but they will be when people should have the confidence that we will be making decisions in a thoughtful and considered manner. recognizing the significance of the work we have to do as the government of australia. yeah, sure. >> there are [ inaudible
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question ] there are obviously some in the party that still have reservations about your leadership. how do you change and what do you say to reassure those people? >> well, the -- the challenge for any leader, so now i can't see you. there's a photographer in front of you. still there. the challenge for any leader and every leader is to ensure that he or she brings together and brings together in the case of the liberal party the broad church confident liberal party. the liberal party is the largest most diverse grassroots political organization in australia. our party room is remarkably diverse. both in terms of people's life experience, their former occupations, and their views on many issues. this is why a culture of engagement, of consultation, of
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collaboration is so absolutely critical. that is what -- that is how cabinet governments and parliament industry systems are meant to operate. julie and i are determined to ensure that going forward, that's how we will operate. now -- we're just going to take one more. perhaps you. the west australian. go around. there you go. well, i've got to look after the deputy leader. >> reporter: i just want to a couple of -- >> thank on. can you guys let us see him in he's a familiar face but it's nice to talk to him rather than a lens. >> reporter: a couple of policy questions. on gay marriage, how will you progress that one and secondly on client chan-- climate change >> let me make this clear.
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the policy on climate changing that greg hunt and julie in fact prepared is one that i supported as a minister in the abbott government and it's one that i support today. so the -- i don't -- i mean, again just going back to what lenore said, our policies are reviewed and adapt a adapted all the time but the climate policy is one that i think has been very well designed. that was a very -- that was a very, very good piece of work. >> and can i just say we have already announced -- we've already announced climate targets for paris in december. and i expect those targets to continue. >> reporter: very confused about what's happened here tonight. >> look, this is a -- we are a parliamentary system. we are a westminster system. wash minister some political scientists call it.
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we're a parliamentary system. so the leader of any parliamentary party remains leader only so long as he or she has the confidence of the party. the as john howard always used to say, the leader serves at the pleasure of the party room. when the party room makes changes their mind about that, when they make a judgment such as they've done today, then the leadership can change. that is inherent. that's one of the characteristics of a parliamentary system, one of the flexibilities that it has over other systems. >> can i really just take one more. fran, there you are. >> reporter: on the program in the morning -- but you talked a lot about the economic vision, the economic challenges, joe took a little offense to that. said you were wrong. you're talking about the fact that the economic directions were incorrect or just the capacity to have the conversation and explain it to the people? the changed economic direction
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or are you going to change the way you tell the story? >> fran, let me put this to you. in terms of talking about the economy, talking about business, a key element is confidence. and you build confidence by explaining as i said earlier, explaining what the problem is, making sure people understand it, and then setting out the options for dealing with it. you've seen in my own portfolio of the communications. i've had to deal with very big business problems whether it's with nbn or indeed with australia post. that's at approach i've taken. laying out what the issues are, getting the facts straight, explaining that and then presenting a path forth and making the case for that that have path forward. my firm belief is that to be a successful leader in 2015, perhaps at any time, you have to be able to bring people with you
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by respecting their intelligence in the manner you explain things. now, you know, we've got some great leaders in australia at the state level. but let me point to one international leader. john key, for example. john key has been able to achieve very significant economic reforms in new zealand by doing just that. by taking, explaining complex issues and then making the case for them. and that is certainly something that i believe we should do. and julie and i both as retired advocates in our own way are very keen to do that again. now, the hour is very late. everyone should go to bed. thank you very much, indeed. cheerio. >> on the next "washington journal," we'll discuss the budget deadline in congress and other news of the day. with democratic congresswoman marcy kaptur and republican
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peter ross come of illinois. we'll talk to of about republican efforts to defund planned parenthood. "washington journal" live each morning at 7:00 eastern on c-span. up next, regulators and industry leaders testify on capitol hill on proposed federal rules for unman add aerial vehicles known as drones. the federal aviation administration is allowing some drones to fly under a waiver while the rules are finalized but a number of concerns over privacy and safety remain. from the house oversight committee, this is two hours 20 minutes.
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committee on oversight and government reform will come to order. without the objection the chair is authorized to declare a recess at any time. i'm excited about this hearing. i appreciate the panelists here today. this is a first in a series of hearings the oversight and government reform committee intends to have as we talk about emerging technologies. one of the great competitive advantages for the united states of america is our leadership in information technology it's our leadership in creativity. the entertainment industry. we lead in a lot of different areas. and one of the things that the united states has done has been a bastion. it's been a great place for entrepreneurs to come up with creativity and allow that those ideas to enter the marketplace and thrive and they create whole new industries. they create literally millions
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of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue and income. and there are also some interesting public policy issues that we need to discuss, and as you have new innovative cans ideas and products and services that consumers are demanding, and that the public wants, then we have an opportunity i think to make sure that we're fostering that growth and creating an atmosphere where those businesses and entrepreneurs can thrive. so today we're going to start talking about drones and the next frontier for commerce. is that because it does offer some exciting possibilities. but it also does create some challenges and some things that as a public and as a society we need to talk through. right now, drones are being widely used, first responders are using them to deliver food and medical supplies in areas hit by disaster. law enforcement envisions using drones to locate missing persons. i in the state of utah, we have
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a state of utah, for instance, it's a very big rural component where we have at times raging wildfires and massive public lands. we have people who travel from out of state and want to enjoy our national parks like arches and canyonlands and yet they get lost sometimes. and it's terrain that's very difficult and very expensive for a helicopter to traverse. maybe drones are the way to do that. companies big and small are finding new an innovative ways to use drones for inspecting and insuring the safety of infrastructure. railroad tracks and telecom systems. i think about alaska and the pipelines and there are other great places where drones can be of great help. these drones are being used to monitor oil and gas pipelines as i mentioned, crops and live stock. they're using them at music festivals and giving the real estate industry a whole new perspective on property and real property as people look at potentially purchasing things.
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you have big innovative companies that just a decade or two ago weren't even around. companies like amazon and google who are researching and developing systems that would allow merchants and customers to deliver and retrieve packages via drones. this is a huge massive opportunity for the united states of america. on february 15th of this year, the faa released a proposed rule on the commercial use of drones. this came after years of delay on the heels of a june 2014 report by the department of transportation inspector general that criticized the faa for being significantly behind its efforts to integrate drones into the national air space system. the ig concluded it was unlikely that faa would meet the deadline of september of this year, 2015, to integrate drones into our air space. under current faa regulations as well as the proposed rule, it is very difficult for companies that are interested in developing transformative drone
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technology to even go through the testing of these ideas. developers have been forced to either limit their testing to small confines of indoor spaces in the united states or to test overseas in a country where the rules are more flexible. in march of 2014, google's so-called project wing started testing deliveries of drones but did so in australia. a year later in march of 2015, amazon began testing drone deliveries in canada and the uk after months of waiting for approval here in the united states of america so they cotest real world environments in the united states. according to the uav trade association and yes, there is a uav trade association, every year that integration is delayed the united statesent lose more than $10 billion in potential economic impact. i recognize that privacy and safety concerns xits and i personally share many of those. i don't want my neighbor flying a drone over my backyard peering in my window and i certainly
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don't want law enforcement using drones for constant surveillance it particularly on private property but are there appropriate uses for drones in the law enforcement atmosphere dealing with large crowds and large events say the super bowl or a major league baseball game or whatever it might be? yes, i think there are appropriate uses. but can they be overused in je. that's why we need to talk candidly about the parameters of that. i do believe there are state's rights and states have a say in this. what point does the air space start to become a federal issue? at what point is it a state issue because maybe these drones are going to land. i think the state and municipalities it probably want to have a stay in that, as well. i'd like to think we can get this right. in fact, we must get it right. the opportunities truly are limitless. this is why we're having the discussion today. we have a leader in the transportation industry, the ch committee, transportation,
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infrastructure, tni who's the chair of our sub committee on transportation and physical assets. i'd like to yield some time to mr. mica for his comments. >> thank i for cyou for conducts hearing technically at the full committee level, because this does demand not only the congress's attention but the nation's attention. drones are here. and uavs are here, and they're here to stay. under work done at the faa, reauthorization back in 2003, we, which is not that long ago, really, dozen years ago, we never even talked about drones. in the last faa reauthorization about six, seven years ago we did direct faa to move forward with the rules. and it's important, it's important first, for safety. i think we've been very
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fortunate. we've had some near misses, and we've had some hits, but i think you can have the potential of having deadly and involving fataliti fatalities, incidents with so many. we now have so many of these uavs and drones in the air. we now have thousands of them flying. the rules are sketchy. the rules are incomplete. looking over the progress that's been made and the rule has been semi-finalized. it's not finalized. people have had a period to comment, but it's still going to take, i'm told, at least another year to finalize that rule and get it in place. in the meantime, again, we have
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the safety issue. today we're focussing on commercialization, use of the drone. and i'm told that we lose as much as $10 billion a year in revenue for possible use of this technology with commercial applications. so we can't delay. i think this is good timing for the hearing. we'll find out where we are with the progress of the approval. and then some of the applications, and then try to stay ahead of the game, which is our responsibility in congress. particularly on the commercialization side and the benefit of the american people. so with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. now recognizes the distinguished ranking member, mr. cummings of maryland for his opening statement. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman for calling this hearing. this is a really interesting hearing and one that i think is
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extremely important. drones are citing new technology with a lot of uses in the not-so-distant future. companies are developing new technologies to use drones to fight forest fires or even to deliver pizza. however, mr. chairman, i share the same concerns as you and many other americans. i want the use of drones to be safe. and i want to make sure that the privacy interests of the american people are protected. as with any new ground-breaking technology, our regulatory regime has not yet fully caught up with drones. the existing rules do not fully address concerns americans have. our goal must be to balance these concerns in a way that allows for the robust
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development of these new technologies while ensuring that necessary safeguards are in place. in 2014, there were more than 9.5 million commercial airline flights carrying more than 850 million passengers in the united states, according to the bureau of transportation statistics. our aviation system is among the safest in the world. and obviously, we must ensure that drones do not imperil the operation of our commercial airlines. allowing drones to fly in the airspace used by commercial jets is a long-term aspiration rather than an immediate responsibility. a small number of drones have been authorized to operate
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around an air force base. they are testifying to congress that airline crews have already reported seeing unmanned aircraft at airports sometimes at altitudes above 2,000 feet. right now these do not appear to be a proven technology to ensure that an unmanned aircraft can act on its own to identify and avoid other aircraft. there also does not appear to be a proven technology to ensure that regular links between drones and their operators are maintained consistently. this could cause drones to crash or equally dangerous, fly out of control. our system does not allow a large margin of error.
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even at low altitudes, it's still in the very early stages of development and is not ready for deployment. recognizing the limits of existing technology, the faa has proposed new regulations that would allow drones weighing less than 55 pounds to operate only during daylight hours, under 500 feet and less than 100 miles per hour. these rules would also require that drones fly within the line of sight of their operators. it would be allowed to operate only one drone at a time. the use of drones in the united states airspace also raises significant privacy concerns. drones have been used to gather wide variety of film footage of people and property. they have been used to gather real time data on the movements of people without those people even knowing the drones were present. this data can be stored
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indefinitely. and it can be analyzed and integrated to create very detailed pictures of almost aspect of a person's life. these possibilities raise a host of privacy concerns that have not been fully addressed by current law or legal precedent. once it has been lost, privacy is not easily regained. successfully introducing drones into u.s. airspace will require all parties to strike a balance that threads numerous needles carefully. i'm confident that this can be achieved, but i'm certain it will take time and thoughtful analysis. and i certainly appreciate the opportunity to consider these issues today, and i look forward to the testimony of our witnesses of mr. chairman, you're absolutely right. we have to get this right, and we have to get it right in a
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bipartisan way, and i look forward to doing that. with that, i yield back. >> i hold the record open for five legislative days for those who would like to present a written statement. we do introduce our panel of witnesses and appreciate all five of you participating today. we're leased to welcome michael whittaker, deputy administrator at the united states department of transportation. john cavolowsky. mr. paul misener who's been with us before. i think yesterday. he's the vice president of global public policy at amazon.com. mr. brian wynne is the president and chief executor of the association of unmanned vehicle systems international. we're pleased you're with us as well and mr. harley geiger is the advocacy director and senior counsel at the center for
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democracy and technology. it will give us an interesting perspective when it comes to privacy issues. all witnesses are to be sworn before they testify. so, if you'll please rise and raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? thank you. let the record reflect that all witnesses answered in the affirmative. in order to allow time for discussion, we would appreciate it if you would limit your verbal comments to five minutes. you'll see a light there that will give you an indication. and then, your full written statements will be entered into the record. we also anticipate that members after the hearing will have additional questions. we call them qfrs, questions for the record. we appreciate your response to those as well. but for your verbal comments, we start with mr. whittaker who is
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recognized for five minutes. >> thank you members of the committee. i appreciate the opportunity to be here today to discuss the safe interdwrags of unmanned aisht systems or uafs, as we refer to them in the national airspace. aviation has always been an industry of innovation driven by new technology. unmanned aircraft are born from that same idea. drones have many uses but they also introduce new risks into the nation's airspace. at the federal aviation administration, our challenge is to allow for this innovation while maintaining the highest levels of safety. i'm pleased to report that we've made great strides over the past year toward safely intergreating uafs into the most complex aviation system in the world.
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the faa modernization act has been given and the faa has made progress in meeting those goals. this rule as proposed creates one of the most flexible regulatory frameworks in the world for uafs operations. we've received thousands of comments and we are in the process of reviewing those now. issuing a final small uafs rule remains one of our highest priorities. at the same time, we are taking other steps to enable industry to take advantage of this new technology now. the faa continues to issue exemptions under section 333. to allow for commercial activity in low-risk, controlled environments. currently, the faa is on average issuing more than 50 section 333 exemptions each week. we also continue to work with
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our partners in government and industry to overcome the largest technical barriers to uafs integration. there's still a lot to learn about the capabilities and risks posed by uafs, that is why we are lefrming a variety of research tools to give industry greater flexibility and data to inform future standards. the faa selected six sites to test uafs operations. these are providing valuable data to our tech center in new jersey. and we also integrated a program to study things beyond those currently approved. for example bnsf railroad will inspect rail infrastructure beyond visual line of sight. in isolated areas. it will help us determine if and how we can safely expand
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unmanned aircraft operations beyond the parameters set forth in the proposed rule. beyond commercial applications, uafs have been increasingly available and affordable to the general public. they are taking a proactive approach to educate the public on the safe and responsible use of uafs. we've partnered with the industry and community to implement the "know before you fly" campaign to let them know what they need to know to fly safely and responsibly. several manufacturers also include information in their packaging. in may we built on success and launched a public outreach campaign for washington, d.c. to
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reenforce the message that the city itself and all communities within 15 miles of national airport constitute a no-drone zone. while our preference is to educate amateur operators about legal compliance, we will use administrative action to gain compliance when appropriate. local law enforcement is often in the best position to sopd quickly. the faa recently issued guidance to first responders on how they can best assist us. the united states has the safest aviation system in the world and our goal is to integrate this new and important technology while maintaining that high level of safety. the faa has successfully integrated new technologies in our aviation system for more than 50 years, and we will do the same with unmanned aisrcraf. we look forward to working with congress and the industry to achieve these goals. thank you. >> thank you. next we'll hear from dr.
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cavolowsky. and he is from the national aeronautics and space administration. welcome and you're recognized sir. >> chairman and mr. cummings, good morning, and thank you for this opportunity to testify ona. nasa's thrust and autonomy defines our approach. our near-term research builds the foundation for the more extensive transformative changes that autonomous systems will bring over the mid and far term. uafs and autonomous systems hold great promise. and we're witnessing the dawn of a new era of aviation innovation, ushering in flight vehicles and operations that are unimaginable today and opening up entirely new markets, much the way jet engines did 60 years
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ago. nasa's performing research, technology and knowledge to the faa and other stakeholders to help them define standards for safe, routine access. still, there are significant barriers and research challenges soerked with the introduction of autonomous systems. addressing these requires the complex systems to be comprehensively evaluated to validate their operations, thus to allow the faa to create standards. now a significant part of nasa's work is focussed in three areas. first, our sense and avoid research is helping to determine performance requirements for a certificate final system to ensure safe separation of uafs with all vehicles operating in the nas. second, we're developing secure, robust communication systems and
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protocols, and third, we're addressing the design of ground control and displays to maximize pilot effectiveness and safety. now to transfer our findings, nasa has built effective partnerships with key stakeholders, the department of defense, homeland security, academia as well. in these, nasa is playing a significant role from the executive level down to our subject matter experts. and now, for mid-term applications, nasa is researching concepts and facilities to conduct safe altitudes that are not actively controlled today. such as small uafs, 55 pounds or under operating at 500 feet or below. nasa's development uaf traffic
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imagineme me management or utm. you can think of it like lanes, traffic lights. similarly, the system would provide airspace corridors, terrain avoidance, route planning and separation management, working alongside many committed partners, nasa will lead the research, development and testing of the utm, using a series of prototypes or builds, each increasing in capability. the first will be in august of this year. and also. in late july, nasa is holding a utm convention to explore and define the needs of low-altitude small uaf operations. over 500 attendees representing the federal, state, local government and general public have registered to attend. so, through game-changing research, nasa enables growing,
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sustainable and transformative aviation systems, sustaining this through partnerships built on clear roles and responsibilities, on long and productive working relationships and in close and continuous cord nation for the specific needs of uafs integration. as the challenges of uafs inter-great lakes emerge, nasa will continue to develop the research and develop the technologies that willen sure the safe realization of the transformative benefits of uafs and increase the competitiveness of the uaf industry. thank you for the opportunity to speak today, and i'll be pleased to answer any questions the committee may have. >> thank you. let me recognize now paul misener, vice president of global public policy with amazon. welcome, and you're recognized. >> thank you mr. chair and mr. cummings for inviting me. drones will provide the next level of delivery service when person mitsed.
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so thank you for your attention to this important topic and holding this hearing. amazon prime air is a future services that will deliver packages up to 5 pounds in 30 minutes or less using uafs, flying under 500 feet and generally above 200 feet for takeoff and landing and weighing less than 55 pounds total, they will take advantage of sense and avoidance technology. to safely operate at 10 miles or more. well beyond sight. no country has created rules that would allow package deliveries. so we are working for such rules. such rules must take advantage of core technology which is to
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fly without human involvement beyond human sight of a human operator. such rules should be proportion at to risk, setting a level of safety but not mandating how that level must be met. safety is amazon's top priority, a top priority we share with faa and nasa. key aviation authorities outside the united states are rapidly pursuing regulatory frameworks and operational rules for uafs, their approach is risk and performance based and is mindful of check benefits that uafs present. here in the united states, the government is taking uafs seriously, and amazon is grateful for the attention given to this new innovative technology. the faa is a step forward. we are fully supportive of this approach and agree with it. statement, the nprm has shortcomings, mainly because the
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prohibitions maintained are not performance based and it would not establish a regulatory framework to permit prime air operations in the united states. more specifically, i respectfully disagree with the faa's current opinion that the potential loss of positive control of uafs present unique safety concerns. which would delay consideration. although these safety concerns present particular engineering challenges to be sure, such challenges are not qualitatively different from the other engineering challenges facing small uafs designers. granted, regulators here and abroad cannot quickly adopt actual rules for operations beyond visual line of sight. that may take time. but american policymakers should quickly propose regulatory frameworks and rules for commercial uafs operations. amazon believes that the faa
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should act expeditiously and ask the congress provide legislative guidance and if necessary authority. uaf regulations must be risk and performance based. they should take into account the risks of operation, including, for example, the absence of passenger and crew, the lower kin et cetera eck energy of aircraft in low altitudes. katz gore cal prohibitions, for example no nighttime operations or no operations beyond visual line of sight make no sense and must be avoided. likewise, highly automated uaf vehicles should be allowed to fly if they meet safety requirements and an operator should be able to oversee simultaneous operation of multiple small uaf vehicles. given the interstate nature of uaf operations, states and municipalities may not be able
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to regulate that which the faa has authorized. uniform federal rule must apply. in conclusion, mr. chairman, i look forward to working with you and your committee and the faa to help the united states expeditiously adopt rules for suaf operations and there by permitting drones to provide americans the next generation of commercial delivery service safely and soon. acti thank you. i welcome your questions. >> thank you, we'll now hear from mr. brian wynne, president and ceo for association for unmanned vehicle systems international. welcome. and you're recognized, sir. >> thank you in chairman, ranking member cummings, members of the committee. i represent the association for unmanned vehicles systems international. the world's largest non-profit organization devoted exclusively
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to advancing the unmanned systems in robotics. we have been the voice of unmanned systems for nearly 40 years, currently we have over 600 corporate members. the unmanned aircraft industry is poised to be one of the fastest growing in history. the first decade following uafs integration will result in $18 billion in u.s. economic activity. the modernization and reform act of 2012 established a foundation for government and industry collaboration to advance this emerging sector. as part of this, the faa is currently working on finalizing rules for commercial and public use of this technology. the agency is also gaptsing permission for limited commercial use on a case by case basis under section 333 of the 2012 act. but more can and should be done.
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despite these positive steps we need to permit expanded uses that pose no risk to the airspace system. for example, whether within the context of the rule through the reauthorization or by other means, we need to allow for a beyond visual line of sight, nighttime operations and operations over congested areas, otherwise we risk stunting a still nay sent industry. in order to continue promoting innovation we need to pass and sign into law a faa reauthorization measure before the current authorization expires in september. let me highlight a number of specific directions that we would like to see reflected going forward. first, the industry supports a risk-based, technology-neutral framework. this means regulation should be based on the risk profile of a
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particular uaf operation rather than the platform being flown. for example, low-risk operations such as aerial surveys above rural farmland would be regarded as safe, with minimal regulatory barriers, regardless of the specific technology or platform used. this flexible framework will accommodate innovations rather than requiring new rules each time a new technology emerges. second, we support a comprehensive industry government research plan. there is a lot of good work already being done and better coordination will ensure we're maximizing the impact of these efforts. while the recently announced path finder program and uaf center of exlns show great progress we need better visibility on how they will fit into the larger uaf picture. third, congress should consider making the faa test sites
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available. access to fund will go help give industry guidance and incentive to better utilize the test sites. fourth, we support the development of a uaf traffic management system. some commercial uaf operations will occur at low levels and this airspace may become complex. a traffic management system would integrate into the existing infrastructure and ensure the continued safety of the airspace for all users, manned and unmanned. finally, knowing that it must be done with the next gen transportation system, there is an effort to link them. we are pleased to see the faa recognize the need for more senior-level attention with a new director and new senior adviser position and look forward to working with those individuals once they are aboard. in closing, uaf technology is at an exciting and pivotal stage
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with new applications being contemplated nearly every dachl unmanned aircraft systems increase pumen potential, allowing us to execute dangerous or difficult tasks safely and efficiently. >> we'll get back to you for questions. mr. harley ggeiger, he is senio counsel for the center of democracy and technology. welcome, and you're recognized. >> chairman chaffetz, members of the committee, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to testify today on the subject of unmanned aisht systems, also known as drones. i'm harley geiger, senior counsel at center for democracy and technology. we are a non-partisan organization dedicated to preserving civil liberties such as privacy and free speech while enabling security.
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i have three points i want to make with regard to drones. my testimony focuses on privacy although there are other issues. first, unmanned aircraft systems are a promising technology but have potential to erode civil liberties. sderks they do -- the lack of privacy protection undermines public trust. third, to earn public acceptance, both government and the uaf industry should fully address civil liberties issues through a combination of legislation and code of conduct. in my time remaining i will expand. they want them used for journalism, disaster relief and more. however, neither the government nor the uaf industry should
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ignore the potential to undermine civil liberty the. here is a nightmare. lawip forcement establishes a broad-based dragnet that tracks individuals in populated outdoor arias, chilling the public's right to free expression, association and assembly. at the same time, a network of commercial unmanned aircraft record footage of virtually every american who steps out of her home even if that individual remains on private property. this may seem like a far-fetched future to some. however, few existing laws would stand in the way, and the public does not yet trust the discretion of the government or the uaf industry to prevent this scenario from becoming a rial. when it comes to government uafs, cdt believes that prolonged surveillance of people of in public places violates civil liberties. however, they have held that americans have no expectation of
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privacy from aerial surveillance. it is not violated when a police helicopter looks through the hole in the ceiling without a warrant. bottom line, there's very little protection from government use outdoors. law enforcement use is ambulance the most acute concern that the public has with uafs, and to address the public's concern, congress should pass legislation that among other things establishes due process standards for law enforcement use of uafs, and congress should limit uaf use where they have a warrant or other narrowly ly targeted areas. -- protecting individuals from mass surveillance without overburdening scientific
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research. when it comes to private sector uafs, only if the conduct is highly offensive to a reasonable person. however, any government regulation of private uafs must not violate our first amendment right to take photographs from public places. an industry code of conduct would help provide privacy protections from private uafs where direct legislation cannot. but it will be effective only if the industry agrees to adopt a strong and enforceable code. the code proposed does not cut it. the code should establish reasonable limits on uaf collected information. and there should be a registry of policies. though there should be reasonable exceptions for that registry and there should be cyber security policies to
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prevent hacking and hijacking. we recommend that the private privaef -- privacy is protected. 's mentioned in my opening statements, back in 2003, when we did one of the first faa reauthorizations, there was nothing in the bill. it's amazing how technology does change our lives, and it's amazing how government does fail to keep up with changes in technology and craft a law to match that. we fall further and further behind it seems. when, in 2012, when they did the last faa reauthorization, i tried to get specific and hold people's feet to the fire. and we do that by putting some milestones and deadlines. the and in the law we said, for
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example, mr. whittaker, we said required planning for integration. this is the law that was passed. the comprehensive plan not later than 270 days after the enactment of this act, the secretary of transportation -- consultation with representative of the aviation and federal agencies, basically would come up with a plan. was that deadline met? >> yes, sir. both a comprehensive plan and a five-year road map were developed. they were both published in november of 2013. >> 2013. okay. further hold the feet to the fire and some things have been didn't as we pointed out, and i mentioned earlier. we put a deadline in the plan required under paragraph one shall provide the safe integration of civil unmanned aviation systems into the national airspace as soon as practical but not later than september 30th, 2015.
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that's the deadline we put in there. is that deadline going to be made -- met? >> you certainly won't have full integration. >> but the deadline is not going to be met. >> no, sir. >> when do you predict the guide line will be met? >> we're taking the issue in manageable bites, if you will. >> you testified that you're granting exemptions and waivers at a pretty rapid rate, what did you say, 50, a week or something? >> yes, sir. >> but that's not what we intended. we intended for basically to have the rule in place by september. it's not going to be met. now we're going to do a faa bill, guys, gals, and we should hold their feet to the fire again. i don't know how we hold the feet to the fire because we've missed the deadline that we set in here. but we're going to have to do something. is there something we're missing that we haven't done that could provide you with the assets to
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move forward or make certain this happens as soon as possible? and what's your deadline now? >> we have broken the task into pieces, if you will. >> what, when will it be done? as directed by law? >> so the rule was issued earlier this year, february. comes were closed in april. we've received 4500. >> mm-hm. >> approximately 4500 comes. >> all that's part of the record. when will we be done? >> so the rule, we have to adjudicate those comments. we'll clear the rule out by the end of the year. >> 16, 17? >> the rule will be in lace within the year. >> within a year. mark that down, staff. we could do a hearing a year from now and see if they've completed the task. the problem we have in the meantime is, again, you're granting exceptions and waivers. it's sort of a spotty policy that's in place. and some folks talked about
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addressing risk, and that's the most important thing, wouldn't you say, is avoiding risk? >> safety is certainly our priority, yes. >> by the same token, we're falling a little bit further behind than some of the other countries. mr. misener, what have you seen, this hearing is about commercialization and moving forward, is the u.s. falling further behind? i cited $10 billion, i guess $1 billion a year for the next ten years we would lose by not having commercial rules in place for operation of drones. >> u.s. planning is not as aggressive, mr. chairman, as it is in other countries. >> okay. but there are a host of issues, privacy, and we have this little question here with the staff and some of us. who basically is in charge of setting the rules for privacy?
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is it the department of justice? is this a faa responsibility in the rules that you're crafting mr. whittaker? maybe you could shed some loet on how we protect people's privacy. >> the president introduced the telecommunication as the lead on this issue. they have opened that for comment, i think that is closed. we are certainly a steakeholder. they have the lead on this issue. >> but it is multi jurisdictional. it's beyond the federal level to protect privacy, isn't it. >> af yaegs has always been a federal initiative and granted of state authorities. >> a drone that's operating under 500 feet, whose responsibility would that be, federal? i mean local law enforcement is
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already using some devices, and other folks are using it. who controls -- and this's probably the biggest concern of privacy, somebody within 500 feet over people's homes, property, surveillance capability of these drones. >> by statute, even at those altitudes, it's federal airspace. >> still our responsibility. so we'll wait to see the development of that and specifics on that rule. >> sir? >> i predict that there will be -- >> you know sometimes we don't move until there's an incident. there will be an incident. there will be a crash. there will be probably fatalities, because you have so many of these things flying. i hope it doesn't take down a big commercial aircraft. i hope it doesn't have a lot of fatalities, but i think it's inevitable. how many thousands of these drones are now flying? i've heard different figures
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from several thousand to 20,000 flying. >> i don't know the exact figures. perhaps mr. wynne does, but i think it's important to distension westedi distinguish the vast majority are amateurs. >> did you want to comment, mr. geiger? >> to your question on who is in charge of privacy here, so the faa is regulating safety and safety is very limited, a very limited mandate when it comes to also providing privacy regulations. so i have some question as to whether or not the faa could actually put forward rules on privacy. >> and this was the interesting, because when we were talking about this several years ago, when we crafted this legislation, i was told it was the department of justice or judicial matter that privacy,
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and it was outside of our realm to regulate, but maybe in this faa bill, do you think we should have, rather than the president by edict or however he did it, what was it, executive order? >> presidential memorandum. >> should we have something in federal law? >> we do think there should be standards in federal law. the 2012 bill mentioned privacy exactly zero times. and the privacy issue has absolutely plagued the discussion. >> now you said the 2012 -- >> the modernization -- >> yeah, and i just explained to you, when we started down that path, concerns were raised on both sides of the aisle about privacy. it's a big deal. that we were told it was outside our realm. it was really judicial a judicial matter, and outside the purview of the transportation committee that was considering legislation at the time. so we're basically without
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anything except what the president has set forth. and maybe that should, some parts of that should be codified, is that, that with be a summary of your -- >> some parts of it, although what the president set fort is quite limited. the department of justice essentially says -- and there's some good things, but it is limited. they will respect laws, harmonize with the fifth amendment, but it doesn't provide any additional protection, really than what is in current law. the process is not going to touch government use. >> let's go to the ranking member, mr. cummings. >> thank you very much. mr. geiger, the expectation of privacy. we talked about that. shouldn't we know that in court cases, the lean of questiine of
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comes down to what is expected by the person. i guess, when you have drones, it really broadens the expectation, is that right? i mean, it kind of throws them, i mean, just opens the door to all kinds of surveillance and -- are you following me? >> i do. and i -- >> can you speak a little louder? >> i do, and i believe this is how courts will ents prets that in the future. right now, the supreme court has interpreted the reasonable expectation of privacy doctrine to not include aerial surveillance from the publicly navigable airspace, and i can only imagine that reasonable expectation of privacy standard or in common law torts, what accounts as highly offensive to a reasonable person i imagine that will shrink as more and more uafs take to the skies. this is one of the reasons we are arguing that current federal law it does not provide adequate
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protection. there ought to be something in federal law that provides a due process standard. >> and what would you, if you were trying to put that law together to try to balance allowing drones to operate, but at the same time trying to maintain some reasonable semblance of privacy for citizens of our country, what would that look like? i mean, do you have something that you all put together that you -- and what elements would you be looking at? >> there are a couple of bills out there right now which provide a good starting point. representative poe's preserving american privacy act. provide good starting points, and both bills are focussed on law enforcement use. this is, as i said in my opening
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statements, in part because the public's concern with privacy and uafs is most acutely connected with law enforcement. i don't think they're quite as concerned with disaster relief and so forth. so i think a combination of a due process standard and an industry code of conduct could provide meaningful privacy protection to individuals. on government use, we think that they are ought to generally speaking be a warrant standard with exceptions for ex-gent circumstances and other reasonable exceptions for law enforcement use as well as a registry of government application. much in the same way that the faa has a registry for small ais aircraft. >> you know, with all of the cameras everywhere on light posts, on buildings.
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of course as you well know, many crimes are solved. people don't even know that they're being observed. and it seems to me there would be, there's an argument that with all of that technology out there that why would one want to differ from, i mean, straight-away from the idea that a drone is going too far? i gijust, as i'm talking, the drone can follow you as opposed to the light post. >> first of all, we do have civil liberties concerns with a ground-based large-scale surveillance system. our concern is largely tech neutral. but drones do have unique capabilities, mostly because of their vantage point. if you're talking about ground based cctv and you turn a corner
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then the cctv can no longer see you, but it would be very hard to escape the scope of observation of a sophisticated and high-flying uaf. so the privacy intrusion is potentially greater. >> mr. misener, can you tell me, tell me about how amazon, i gist want to know the logistics of how that works, somebody has a package that they want in iowa. tonight. so what happens? >> well, a customer -- >> and the fact it is in washington. go. >> mr. cummings, we have -- i have three seconds. >> i just want a picture it, how it works. >> it's very fast delivery system. we have distribution facilities throughout the country. and what we'd like to be able to do is enable that network to deliver packages to customers
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more quickly than is currently possible using the ground transportation network. we've looked at all kinds of scenarios on how to get packages to customers in 30 minutes, and what's best is drones. a person would be able to order something on the website and have it delivered in 30 minutes. she doesn't have to get in the car and go to the store or have a delivery truck deliver it. >> so it just pops up right in front of your door. >> yes, sir. >> okay. mr. wynne, the faa's proposed rule making lists -- >> we've got a basket of fresh fruit hided your way right now. >> the potential uses of dropes such as crop monitoring, bridge inspections and can you give us a few other examples of potential commercial use of drones? >> well, there are, there's all
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manner of infrastructure that needs to be inspected in the country. for example natural gas pipelines, high utility, high voltage lines, et cetera, that would be another example of large industries that are just chomping at the bit to embrace this technology. so there are small uses, large uses, visual line of sight when it comes to taking pictures of a house from a different angle for a real estate agent, all the way to insurance agencies inspecting after a hurricane sandy event, what's going on in a particular area, areas that are inaccessible to agents in gaining information as quickly as possible. >> now mr. whittaker, faa's mission is to create the safest aeronautics system in the world. >> one of the challenges that we have a much more complex and diverse airspace than any other country and a busier airspace.
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so, in addition to four of the biggest airlines in the world and dozens of hubs, you have business aviation, nearly 200,000 general aviation operations, helicopters, rescue vehicles that fly in all airspace. so integrating instead of just setting aside a space to operate but integrating into the airspace requires that these new vehicles be able to stay clear of the existing vehicles. so detent and avoid or sense and avoid, that's a major technological challenge that has to be solved. and you have to solve the communications challenge, how the operator communicates with the vehicle, what the spectrum is that's allocated for that, and what happens if that link breaks. so these are some of the technology issues that are being researched in various venues that we need to fully understand and then build standards around so we can fully intergreat this into the system. >> you know, not long ago the fella had a, flew a drone at the
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white house. and all of us were very concerned about that. i know that was of significant concern of many. and i'm just trying to figure out, i mean, if you've got all of these objects flying around, and then you've got a lot of people on the ground and you've got to protect airspace. it just seems to me like we are headed towards disaster. at some point. >> we're going to try to make sure that doesn't happen, but there are actually very robust technologies that will allow this to happen and they're being tested to -- >> allow what to happen? >> allow the vehicles to stay clear of humans and other vehicles. we just need to make sure that
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technology is robust enough to incorporate into our air system. >> i see that my time has expired. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. massie? >> mr. whittaker, i'm glad to see that we have a proposed rule here that we've been waiting on it for a long time. i served on the transportation committee, and we've been pushing for this. so i'm excited to see this, and i think it does allow a large class of operations that heretofore have not been able to operate. mr. wynne can you talk about the types of commerce that won't be facilitated by this rule, particularly the requirement that at all times there has to be an operator that's got visual line of sight to the drone. can you talk about some of the -- and some of the applications that can't be practiced because of that rule? >> well, the easy one is mr.
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misener's, the application he was talking about earlier, that does require beyond visual line of sight. there is all manner of inspections that i was mentioning as well. bnsf was mentioning earlier being able to check tor submit rails in advance of trains, other infrastructure, et cetera, and just, if you imagine one of the early applications, early adopters of this technology will be agricultural interests, farmers, et cetera, looking to do all manner of inspection of their property. some of these farms are large, of course, and someone could easily be flying over their property but have that well beyond line of sight, again, basically flying a pattern that a computer is controlling. very low altitude. so these are the types of operations that we think, some of them are more complex than others. we think that there's a way to advance the technology to test
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the technology. the more we're flying, again, equivalent level of safety to the current level of aircraft system we have today, the more data we can collect, it's like sense and avoid, detect and avoid, et cetera. there are a number of those things, low-hanging fruit so to speak. >> so, mr. whittaker, is there any chance before this rule comes out to have a category of drones that are authorized in low-risk situations like agriculture or power line inspection or rail inspection. is there a chance to get something in the rule for that category? >> what we've done while the rule is pending is we issue exemptions, and we've done over 600 exemptions for commercial operators and even more than that for public sector operations, for fire and rescue, that type of thing. the rule as you mentioned will take care of a very large subset of operations and will allow a
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lot more commercial innovation without our involvement. we've tried to include in the rule the issues where we think we have a clear understanding of the safety risks and how they can be mitigated. the issues outside of the rule like beyond of sight we think we'll get there, and we'll try to get there as quickly as we can, but there are still technology issues and standards that have to be developed. so we will work very diligently to try to keep that moving as the rule progresses. >> on the privacy aspect of this, it does present some new challenges. one question that i have is should there be a floor? we're talking about a ceiling of 500 feet. should there be a floor. do you own the property an inch above your lawn is the question that i have? if you have a gate, a locked gate on your property and somebody climbs over the gate your expectation is that they're
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violating your privacy. what if they fly above your gate and they whoeverhover an inch a your ground. >> 400 foot level is arbitrary. an inch above your property, you probably own that. 30 feet above your property? not sure. what counts as reasonable again, is more and more uafs fill the sky and tens, hundreds of thousands what we predict in the coming decades, what counts as reasonable will probably shrink. and it's not clear what the floor will be. but generally, if you, you can, you have an expectation of property ownership and as much airspace as you can use. and so the drone would have to violate your or reduce a substantial interest or use in your property in order to be liable for a trespass claim.
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>> maybe the floor is the range for number 12 gauge with six shot in it. >> you know, it's interesting that you bring that up, because the concept of shooting down drones, i think, demonstrates the depth of concern that people have. and this is a privacy-based concern with drones. now this happens on a pretty regular basis, right? just two weeks ago there were firefighters that were tending to a house fire. and in the aftermath of that house fire used their hose to spray a drone that was watching them. the drone was not directly over them, so it wasn't a safety issue, but it was watching them. i'm not condoning that type of activity. it's very risky. but it expresses the need for privacy. >> maybe we need rules of engagement in addition to rules of priefrsy. i yield back. >> ms. norton? >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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i would say we're in the infancy of everything here, the infancy of regulation, the infancy of the technology. we saw that when the drones are landed, a drone landed in the white house and indeed on these very capitol grounds, and mr. whittaker, appreciate that on may 13th there's a release that indicates that you're trying to make the public understand that there's a 15-mile radius around the nation's capitol, that you're not supposed to fly anything. so everybody's playing catch-up here. now on one of my other committees, where we're really playing catchup is next gen. so when i look at your regulations and see it must be a vital weight of aircraft manned or unmanned.
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if we knew where even aircraft were flying we might expect drones to operate within our airspace safely, more safety, more safely. the assistant attorney general has testified about the integration of gredrones into commercial airspace. and that's what interests me. does the faa receive from commercial pilots each month on any regular basis whether they have seen unmanned aircraft of any kind? >> we do receive reports of sightings of unmanned aircraft. they typically will come in over the air traffic control network, and we do track those. >> are those required to be reported, mr. whittaker? >> they are required to be reported, yes. >> have any close calls of drones or unmanned aircraft with
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commercial aircraft been reported? >> we, i don't have any recollection of any evasive maneuvers being taken as a result. mostly what we see are sightings of unmanned aircraft in controlled airspace usually near airports. >> is there any incentive in licensing these unmanned aircraft. do we know how many there are in this country. >> they tend to be the amateur, model aircraft, the kind that you can buy and operate anywhere. they're unregulated anywhere, and we're prohibited by statute from regulating that sector. >> should somebody be regulating that sector? who should be? >> we do have areas where these operators are prohibited from flying, so they're wandering into prohibited airspace.
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so in had that sense ththat sen violating the law. so we're working to develop an app that people can use to see if they're in restrictioned airspace or whether they can fly their unmanned air system. and we work with local law enforcement to give them guidelines on how to interact with people who are operating in an inappropriate fashion. >> in light of these proposed rules, mr. misener and amazon's interest, it says an operator should be capable of seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses. in order, i suppose you're supposed to be within, you're supposed to be able to see these drones that you've let loose upon the universe. how's that going to work commercially? >> thank you, ms. norton. it won't, at least for package
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delivery services. we don't disagree that it's a more difficult use case. it require as higher automation and vehicles. we are working on that. that type of technology is being developed. our respectful disagreement with the faa is that we believe that that kind of operation can be considered right now on the same risk base approach. the risks are higher -- >> you think the technology would allow that now? >> oh, it's in the works, ms. norton, and all i'm saying is, i'm not saying that the rules for operation need to be adopted right now, but the serious planning for those future roles. and what we're trying to say is that ought to be considered right now, just like other countries are considering, beyond sight operations right now. >> mr. whittaker, this notion of lost link scenario, what's the
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current state of technology on the links between the operator and the drone and the possibility of the drone getting beyond the vision or, for that matter, the control? i'm sure that the drone that went into the white house grounds was beyond his control, for example. >> so, there's research that goes on. there's a lot of research that goes on that nasa, at d.o.d. we have a center of excellence at mississippi state where they'll be researched along these leanines. >> fu see a drone going too far is there technology that can call it back? >> as that technology is tested we have to develop standards for operation, particularly in the radio communication spectrum and how that gets defined.
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>> standards for example that would make sure that you didn't lose control of your own unmanned aircraft. >> right, and there are procedures that could be followed when that happens. >> i thank the gentle lady. mr. meadows? >> thank you mr. chairman. thank each of you for your testimony. mr. misener, i think you were indicating that the united states is falling behind on this particular use of drone technology to some of competition that may be in europe and other places, is that correct? ? >> yes, mr. meadows, it is. >> so, if we are falling behind, obviously, mr. whittaker says we have a very complex air system, which i would agree with that, more complex than europe. but, from a regulatory standpoint, do you see that we could perhaps have had in this rule making going a little bit further to anticipate new technology? to allow for greater innovation
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so that we don't get beat out by our competition in other parts of the world? >> yes, mr. meadows. i firmly believe that. and i acknowledge that the u.s. airspace is complicated, but it's also complicated around heathrow and other places around the world. so we need to acknowledge that other countries are just taking a more forward-looking planning approach. again, i don't blame the faa for not having rules in place. this is a big challenge and nasa and the faa and private industry are working together to address the technical challenges. what i'm suggesting is that the risk-based approach taken throughout much of the rpm could be applied to these highly automated operations that we foresee. >> so, mr. whittaker, let he co me come back to you then. we've talked about these six regional test areas across the united states.
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and what i have found interesting as we have come out with this proposed rule is that most of this seems to be a rule that is looking backwards, not forward. for example, i mean, looking at not being able to operate these other than line of sight or at night is extremely short-sighted, i believe, in terms of a rule. so it's almost as if to meet some of the deadlines you put forth a rule that is very restrictive instead of really saying that if there's the technology, which we have the technology to manage this other than line of sight, could we not do that in a safe manner? >> so, we had a lot of debate around this as the rule was put together, and i think there was an attempt to boil the ocean, if you will and take on all possible issues in the rule.
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and the decision was made to come up with a less onerous rule. so we defined an envelope of operation, if you will. and the things in that envelope, it will unleash a lot of the commercial need that's there. the issues that are still out there to be worked out and to have standards built around, we do have regulatory tools to allow those to go forward without waiting for a rule making or exemption. >> if we are talking about, you say it would provide for most of what we're talking about, i would disagree with that. if we're talking about line of sight. because what mr. misener and mr. wynne are talking about really is not line of sight. you know, doctor, you work for nasa, can you put something out in space or on the moon without, in a safe way and do it without
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line of sight? >> i work -- >> be careful how you answer. >> working in the areronautics mission at nasa -- >> can some of your colleagues do that? do they have to view it the whole way where it lands in order for it to be safe? >> that is certainly not the case. >> okay. so i guess, mr. whittaker, coming back to you, i'm going to encourage you, as we are looking for a faa re-auth in less than 60 days, i am encouraging you to be a little bit more forward-thinking as it comes to the line of sight in some of the technology that is available to us today. the stakeholders, i mean, it's all over. and because if not, your regulations become the throttle or the choke that keeps
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innovation from moving us forward and ultimately, we will lose out to competition, do i have your commitment that you will look at that aggressively? >> we will. and i think granting the bnsf railroad authority to operate beyond line of sight is part of that. >> thank you. i yield back. >> i want to thank the panel members for your help this morning.
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