Drone airspace encounters and reports of rogue drone flights are growing exponentially. Although the FAA retains authority for unmanned flights, it remains the responsibility of state and local agencies to provide response, initial investigation, forensics, and reporting of drone incidents and violations. Currently, no standardized protocols nor investigative/ reporting tools exist for this mandatory reporting. SafeFlight, a field-based drone enforcement system, facilitates drone incident reporting for Air Traffic Control, 9-1-1 Centers, Field Law Enforcement/ Security Forces, and Rapid Deployment Incident Command Operations. Our software delivers the ability to Triage, Validate, Investigate, and Report incidents and violations, fully automating the limited manual process of compliance with federal reporting mandates. SafeFlight will bring consistency in all aspects of drone enforcement to all players in the ecosystem via a comprehensive four-tier cloud-based application.
Drone sales are growing exponentially. In a March 2016 the FAA estimated consumer drone sales would reach 7 million by 2020. A July 2017 Business Intelligence report states BI Intelligence expects consumer drone shipments to hit 29 million in 2021. One can only imagine millions of automobiles being operated by unlicensed, inexperienced, and unregulated individuals. Also imagine millions of cars with no lanes, no laws, and no enforcement mechanisms.
Leading the list of potential disastrous outcomes of rogue drone flights are over 3,000 reported incidents of UAS/ drone intrusions into class A-C airspace (airport landing and takeoff zones) and all-too-frequent interruption of aerial firefighting and rescue operations. Near tragedies abound, with a hobby drone striking and forcing down a military Blackhawk helicopter over Manhattan, a drone slicing off a photographer’s nose in Brooklyn, injured bystanders from a drone crash into the stands of a Virginia speedway, and many more close calls. It can be assumed that actual rogue drone flights greatly outnumber those reported.
Below the catastrophic level of UAS drone incidents, the public is concerned about privacy, trespassing, and other issues of unregulated drone flights. Hundreds of local communities are already proposing and passing local drone laws and regulations. Current drone laws already cover local jurisdictions representing over 30 million residents. The 60,000 law enforcement officers in those communities have no means of validating flights, creating incident and violation reports, and referring violations for adjudication.
State and Federal Mandates – a Chronology
2016 - FAA publishes the first of four guideline documents that relegates field drone enforcement to state and local agencies - State and local officers are formally in the drone enforcement business.
October 2018 - FAA Reauthorization Act is passed into law, bolstering the drone countermeasure market (C-UAS) with over 250 solutions, and creating a mandatory reporting mechanism for all federal, state, and local agencies in the event of violations and incidents. This single section instantly created the need for 18,000 law enforcement agencies, with over 500,000 direct field users not having the tools for drone incident validation, investigation, evidence gather, incident reporting, and referral for adjudication.
Without comprehensive reporting tools, FAA investigative and legal staff and local prosecutors cannot be assured of effective incident reports and statistics.
SafeFlight is a Software-as-a-Service, secure-cloud-based system focused on providing a comprehensive solution to the growing problem of drone abuse and misuse. SafeFlight is the first and only provider of a comprehensive UAS/ drone enforcement and education product for the military, federal, state, and local law enforcement, and public safety.
Developed by public safety professionals for public safety professionals, SafeFlight occupies a space that requires substantial experience and expertise in the disparate disciplines of law enforcement and public safety protocols and practices, aviation regulations, public safety marketing and sales, pioneering new government markets, and user-centric software development. The SafeFlight team collectively has over 200 years of leadership in each of these disciplines. In 2019 SafeFlight was one of the ten companies in the United States Air Force Accelerator Powered by Techstars, developing dual-use technologies for both military and civilian users.