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Concerned US Senators Form Aerial Drone Caucus


United States senators Jim Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, and Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, have put politics aside and crossed party lines over their concern for the future of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, also commonly referred to as drones).

According to the Washington Times, they’ve formed a drone caucus (a Congressional caucus is a sub-grouping of officials with shared views).

Flying drones have proven their utility in air medical rescue by sweeping areas to locate patients in search and rescue maneuvers.

Interestingly, the House of Representatives already had its own drone caucus. They formed one three years ago. The Senate Unmanned Aerial Systems Caucus is an independent group, but will probably end up working closely with the House drone caucus to influence drone legislation as the technology (and proliferation among civilians) continues to grow.

The Army tests out a new generation of unmanned aerial vehicle.“The increased use of Unmanned Aerial Systems carries great potential – and great risk,” said Senator Manchin.

“It’s important for all of us to understand how we can use this advancing technology to strengthen our national security and improve our ability to respond in case of natural or man-made disasters, while at the same time ensuring the privacy of all of our law-abiding American citizens.”

He said he looked forward to working with Senator Inhofe in a bipartisan way to keep their colleagues updated on policies surrounding the emerging technology.

The FAA created an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office earlier this year to address issues regarding civilian use of drones, as the agency continues to accommodate a rising number of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace.

At the present time, the FAA authorizes limited use of unmanned aerial vehicles and is working on more clear regulation to oversee the use of drones in U.S. airspace.

Will clearer drone regulations break drones out of the realm of military, law enforcement, and meteorological use and open up new possibilities for aerial drones to assist in the air medical field? Look for these type of stories to show up more and more on over the next decade.

As the FAA seems willing to allow a growing “swarm” of these pilot-less aircraft into the national airspace system, and non-military use of drones continues to grow, what kind of healthcare applications do you see aeromedical drones being utilized for in the future?

If you care about the future, you’ll leave a comment and let us know.

(And for the record, we coined the term air medical UAV back in 2011.)

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  1. roger55roger55

    10 / 4 / 2012 6:26 pm

    Air ambulances without pilots?! There goes job security…..


  2. Bart Williams

    10 / 8 / 2012 10:11 am

    I hesitate to say I am happy to see some Congressional oversight in this emerging arena, but I can see a need for it. Unmanned aircraft will no doubt raise a variety of serious security, privacy, safety and commercial regulation issues. I suppose it is a necessary evil


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