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Drones: US$82 billion business in next decade

Drone businessARLINGTON, VA: The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) has become a partner of the U.S. National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC).

The move follows recent announcements by Google, Amazon and Deutschepost DHL on the use of drones for last-mile logistics.

Commenting on Google's plans to develop a drone-based delivery service, AUVSI president & CEO Michael Toscano said the move "highlights how this technology will revolutionize industries and the importance of the FAA keeping the integration process on track...In addition the wider use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) will have a huge economic impact in the U.S. for both the public and commercial sectors."

He added that a recent AUVSI study has determined UAS would have an $82 billion economic impact and create more than 100,000 jobs in the first decade after integration into the country's commercial aviation network.

NAMC is a research and development partner for the U.S. Department of Defense. It has a seven-year, US $700 million agreement to determine dual-use of manned and unmanned ground vehicles and unmanned air and maritime systems. AUVSI has 7,500 members from government, industry and academia.

AUVSI says it is working with Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to integrate UAS into the country's national airspace system by September 30, 2015.The association says it also expects the FAA by this deadline to create six unmanned aircraft test sites; allow UAS to fly beyond line-of-sight, at any time, in the U.S. Arctic; define small unmanned aircraft as weighing less than 55lbs; and include UAS in America's NextGen air navigation system.

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