Politico reports that Sens. John Hoeven and Richard Blumenthal have tabled a proposed amendment to the massive US infrastructure law. The proposed change would “prevent technology purchase funds from buying Chinese-made drones,” says Politico.
The proposed $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill includes $ 500 million to upgrade and improve the country’s aging transportation infrastructure: funding that could benefit the drone industry significantly as drones become a premier tool for inspection and development Infrastructures. Senators say the change is needed to ensure funds are not spent on China-made drones that the Pentagon claims pose a security risk to the US
The change would prevent the funds from being used to purchase drones by “a company, subsidiary or affiliate of a company that is under the influence or control of … the government of the People’s Republic of China; or … the Chinese Communist Party. “
On Twitter, Republican Senator Marco Rubio said the question of using infrastructure bills to buy Chinese technology was a “huge problem”:
When you send a 2700 page bill through the Senate, things slip through the cracks
In the infrastructure bill, the SMART Grant program does NOT prohibit the purchase or use of Chinese drones
Big problem that needs to be addressed
– Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 5, 2021
The news is the US’s latest move in ongoing efforts to limit government exposure to Chinese technology and boost the domestic drone industry. The Pentagon has decided to use government funds to restrict purchases of Chinese-made drones, including those made by the world’s largest drone manufacturer, DJI. The Department of Defense’s innovation department has also developed a list of five “trusted” drone solutions, largely made in the United States, that meet the Department of Defense’s functionality and security requirements.
In addition to restricting government use of Chinese technology, the US has taken clear steps suggesting drone manufacturing is now a key national skill, with CARES Act funding for some US drone companies during the pandemic, and strong in Research projects based in the USA are invested by drone manufacturers.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional marketplace for drone services, and a passionate observer of the emerging drone industry and regulatory environment for drones. Author of over 3,000 articles focusing on the commercial drone space, Miriam is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam graduated from the University of Chicago and has over 20 years experience in high-tech sales and marketing for emerging technologies.
For advice or writing in the drone industry, email Miriam.
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