A short list of Florida licensed drones for government use and purchase has created confusion and concern among Florida public safety.
This morning the Florida Department of Management Services released a list of Florida approved drones, as seen in the screenshot below. However, since its release this morning, the page has been locked, which has raised questions about the validity of the release and the department’s implementation plans.
The list mimics the original Blue sUAS list of trusted and safe drone platforms. The original Blue sUAS list mentioned five specific models of drones built in partnership with the Department of Defense, including the US-made ANAFI USA, which was developed by French drone company Parrot. The Florida list appears to cover all of the products from these five manufacturers, whether or not they were made in the United States
The Blue sUAS list was originally developed to designate hardware suitable for use by the Department of Defense after military authorities raised concerns about the safety of China-made technology platforms. Since then, the US General Services Administration, the agency in charge of regular government purchases, has also restricted government purchases to the models on the Blue sUAS list. While some government agencies have complained that the limited list of platforms did not meet their needs, the DoD has stood firm in its position on China-made drone platforms from leading manufacturer DJI.
US manufacturers who have developed platforms to meet the security requirements of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) have complained that using the list as a source of “approved” platforms is limiting the growth of the US drone industry. Since inclusion on the Blue sUAS list requires rigorous testing, the Department of Defense has been slow to add to the list: A current Department of Defense program to codify and simplify the process of listing “trusted” drone manufacturers includes 11 new manufacturers.
If the Florida drone list continues, it will have a significant impact on the Florida drone industry, and the public safety sector in particular. Latest data from DRONERESPONDERS.org, the largest support and education network for drones in public safety, shows that 90% of the surveyed security authorities use drones from the Chinese drone manufacturer DJI. The Department of Management Services states that “any government agency using drones that are not on the department’s approved list must come up with a comprehensive cessation plan …” Hopefully, this plan does not simply mean cessation Drone programs across Florida’s public safety sector.
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 on the drone industry, email Miriam.
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