Examine the balance between innovation and public safety in this bill that sought to provide interim regulation of drones used for commerce.
In the mid-2010s, as the technology advanced, members of Congress were eager to allow businesses to start using drones, also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Within the Executive Branch, the Federal Aviation Agency was taking time to craft the appropriate regulations. Unhappy with the FAA’s pace, lawmakers introduced the Commercial UAS Modernization Act, to provide temporary regulations for the immediate commercial use of drones. This bill underscores the trade-offs between economic innovation and public safety as well as the conflicts that arise from the separation of powers.
As students consider this legislation they will learn about different roles and competing interests between the different branches of the government, as well as the different circumstances that lead some countries to embrace new technologies more quickly than others. Students will also have the opportunity to imagine the marvels and hazards of a world where commercial drones are commonplace.
Use this lesson plan to explore the issue and prepare to conduct a Senate debate on a related bill.