Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Continued Coordination, Operational Data, and Performance Standards Needed to Guide Research and Development, Statement of Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D., Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues, Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Oversight, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, House of Representatives [open pdf - 678KB]
"Unmanned aircraft systems [UAS] are aircraft and associated equipment that do not carry a pilot aboard, but instead operate on pre-programmed routes or are manually controlled by pilot-operated ground stations. Although current domestic uses of UAS are limited to activities such as law enforcement, forensic photography, border security, and scientific data collection, UAS also have a wide range of other potential commercial uses. According to an industry forecast, the market for UAS is expected to grow and could be potentially worth $89 billion over the next decade. Concerned with the pace of UAS integration into the national airspace, Congress established specific requirements and set deadlines for FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] in the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act (the 2012 Act). This testimony discusses 1) the roles and responsibilities of and coordination among federal agencies and other UAS stakeholders involved in integrating UAS, 2) FAA's progress in complying with the 2012 Act's UAS requirements, and 3) research and development efforts by FAA and other entities to address challenges for safely integrating UAS. This testimony is based on a 2012 GAO [Government Accountability Office] report. In past work, GAO analyzed FAA's efforts to integrate UAS into the national airspace, the role of other federal agencies in achieving safe and routine integration, and research and development issues. GAO also conducted selected interviews with officials from FAA and other federal agencies, industry, and academic stakeholders."
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/