ARLINGTON, Va. – The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) reports it has appointed representatives from the industry to serve on a steering committee to develop the Trusted Operator Program (TOP) for remote pilots and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) training organizations.
The TOP is a UAS community initiative to facilitate best practices, codes of conduct and professionalism for operators of services provided by UAS, also known as drones.
Initial planning for the TOP started early last year during meetings of AUVSI’s Remote Pilots Council (RPC) that were held across the country.
RPC members and other remote pilots licensed by the FAA discussed the need for higher levels of professionalism through consistent training, which would allow UAS operators flying for business purposes to further distinguish themselves in the market.
In addition, RPC members said there is a lack of understanding of the legal implications involved in contracting UAS services that do not have certified and demonstrated safety and compliance protocols. This affects insurance costs, perceived market value for services, customer trust and regulatory oversight.
“There is an urgent need to unify the remote pilot community and remote pilot training providers to facilitate a recognized guide for training protocols, best practices and conduct,” said Brian Wynne, AUVSI’s president and CEO. “This will support reliability, safety, professionalism and trust in the UAS industry.”
“The training protocols that are envisioned for the TOP will lead to many benefits, such as a commitment to safety, lower insurance premiums and helping advance regulations that permit expanded operations, including flying at night, over people, and beyond line of sight,” he continue.
The TOP steering committee will work to highlight gaps in existing training protocols and help develop new ones, he added.