“It’s going to be selective, for the businesses that are players in this industry,” he said. “It’s not just about the vehicles. It’s also about the tech companies that are behind it.”
Thornquist said the council would bring together state officials, industry representatives and academic experts on unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones or UAS’s (or unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, for that matter). “The idea is to create a forum whose goal is to increase commercialization in this subsector of aerospace,” he said in an email.
Thornquist noted that Washington state’s UAS industry is growing, especially in Puget Sound and Klickitat County. One of the nation’s leaders in the UAS sector, a Boeing subsidiary known as Insitu, is headquartered in Bingen in Klickitat County, on the banks of the Columbia River.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s rules for commercial operations with small UAVs, released last month, don’t yet allow for the kind of delivery system Amazon has been talking about. However, the FAA says expanding the rules to allow for drone delivery is the subject of a “very active research program.”