Congress increases funding for UAS research, airspace integration

May 11, 2017  - By
Image: GPS World

More than $20 million for research on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) was included in an appropriations package that Congress passed and the president signed into law last week to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. The funding for UAS research is $2.67 million more than last year’s budget request by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to address a host of research challenges associated with integrating UAS into the national airspace system.

The measure’s section on appropriations for transportation agencies also includes $20 million above the 2016 budget request for the FAA’s air traffic control organization. The increase will provide for the hiring and training of new controllers and accelerating UAS airspace integration. The agreement also includes $11.5 million more than was requested for aviation safety activities for UAS integration, including the addition of six full-time positions to support the certification of new technologies and advance the FAA’s organizational delegation authorization (ODA) efforts and strengthen safety oversight.