The widely anticipated 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which may contain a Chinese drone ban, will be delayed until after the US election in November.
Industry stakeholders, manufacturers and savvy drone pilots are all aware of an upcoming Chinese drone ban by the American government. Many drone pilots want to discover what sort of ban is included with the 2020 NDAA.
Right now, the industry is relying purely on speculation. It seems like the Alliance for drone innovation is aware of a potential Chinese drone ban. They recently wrote a letter to the Armed Services committee raising concerns of a potential Chines drone ban.
The National Defense Authorization Act was supposed to be released at the end of September. The Drone U Flight crew was avidly awaiting the release of the document. We were ready to scour the document to better discern what this rumored ban would look like and how our community would be affected.
Would the US Government ban Chinese drone parts? Would they ban smart parts or internet enabled parts? Would they ban all over the counter drones made with Chinese parts? If the NDAA banned all drones with Chinese Parts, even American drones like Skydio would be banned. Yet Skydio
Speculation has persisted that the US Government would ban Federal Agencies, State agencies and any public safety from using federal grant money to buy or fly Chinese made drones. Speculation around security concerns have run rampant for the last four years. Politics are now involved, the USA has been in a trade war with China. Even some Chinese based app's have suffered an attempted nationwide deletion.
The politics of anti-China rhetoric has only ramped up over the last few years. While regulators discuss the dangers of Chinese drones, America doesn't have a viable drone solution. There is not a single drone manufacturer who can produce a drone comparable in features or price to DJI drones. Most of the American drone solutions are made with Chinese made parts. Where will the US Government draw the line?
During a Defense news conference address, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said the report on the NDAA is most likely to come out “pretty quickly” after the election. Drone pilots will have to wait until after the November 3rd election to learn if there is a Chinese drone ban.
Right after drone pilots learn what is in the NDAA, the FAA is expected to publish Remote Id shortly thereafter. During a webinar with Auterion today, a representative leaked that the Freefly Astro meets standards set forth by the NDAA. Clearly manufacturers are aware of what may be included with this NDAA. Once again, drone pilots are the last to learn.
On a positive note, maybe the FAA will give us a positive Christmas present? The holiday season is sure to be exciting for drone pilots.
Will the NDAA ban previously owned drones? Will the NDAA enact a Chinese drone ban or will it ban Chinese made parts? Will existing drone pilots be exponentially more valuable? Will the drone industry look like the Cuban automobile market? Only time will tell.