Kansas DOT’s Brock named to USDOT Drone Panel

Bob Brock (seen above), director of aviation and unmanned aircraft systems at the Kansas Department of Transportation, was one of 12 new members named to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Drone Advisory Committee.

Photo by the Kansas DOT

The 35-member DAC is a broad-based, long-term federal advisory committee that provides the FAA advice on key unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) integration issues by helping to identify challenges and prioritize improvements. The committee helps to create broad support for an overall integration strategy and vision, the agency noted in a statement.

“Continuing to grow aviation in Kansas is a priority for KDOT, and we can’t be more pleased to have innovative people like Bob lead the way for transportation in this important industry,” said Julie Lorenz, Kansas’ secretary of transportation, in a statement.

[Editor’s note: A 2019 survey conducted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials indicates that 36 out of 50 state departments of transportation or 72 percent are now funding centers or programs to operate drones. That’s up from 20 out of 44 state DOTs or 45 percent in AASHTO’s 2018 survey.]

The Kansas DOT is also among the first 10 participants in FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program, initiated in May of last year.

Data from that program helping the FAA and the U.S. Department of Transportation craft new “enabling rules” to allow for: more complex low-altitude operations by drones; identify ways to balance local and national interests related to UAS integration; improve communications with local, state, and tribal jurisdictions; address security and privacy risks plus accelerate the approval of operations that currently require special authorizations.

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