On March 9, 2016, the Senate introduced the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2016 (S. 2658), and it contains the following provisions related to unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) regulation and consumer protection:

  • Directs the FAA to develop an online knowledge and safety test which operators of UAS must pass before flying.
  • Directs the FAA and NASA to develop a pilot program for a UAS traffic management system, with 6 test sites.
  • Directs both the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Comptroller General to develop a report on UAS privacy best-practices.
  • Creates a new commercial and governmental UAS registration database.
  • Creates a civil penalty of up to $20,000 to operate UAS in a way which interferes with firefighting, law enforcement, or emergency response activities.

Notably, the legislation only funds FAA through September 2017. This is only the first draft of the Bill, and there are many changes expected when the full Senate Commerce Committee discusses it on March 16, 2016.