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Drone Study Committee formed
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In a recent CNBC report it was estimated that there were 200,000 drones sold each month worldwide in 2014.

It was also reported that by 2015 it is expected that yearly spending on drones will increase to 4.5 billion by 2020.

This is an industry that is increasing exponentially with no end in sight. Unmanned aerial crafts will most certainly revolutionize how many industries operate. Their uses and benefits seem to have no boundaries.

The University of Georgia is currently working with the Georgia Department of Agriculture and South Georgia farmers to determine the benefits of using drones in our state's agricultural industry. Utility companies, commercial contractors, real estate companies and government agencies are all using drones to improve their ability to perform countless tasks.

With the upsurge in the number of drones being flown in the skies over our country there most certainly come challenges. There is the concern about individuals and government agencies using drones to video and photograph private property without permission. There are concerns about safety for individuals on the ground and commercial aircraft that are sharing airspace with these unmanned aircraft. Citizens question what restrictions should be placed on law enforcement's ability to collect evidence without a search warrant while using a drone. All of these questions and concerns were not on anyone's radar screen a few short years ago.

Instead of attempting to piece mill together legislation, the House of Representatives felt it was better to thoughtfully examine the complex issue of drones. For this reason the House created the Drone Study Committee. I am honored to have been appointed to Chair this effort. Over the next few months we will hold a series of meetings to hear testimony from stake holders and citizens on this important topic.

These meetings will be open to the general public and anyone who has an interest or concern is encouraged to attend and to participate. Based on the committee's report, I believe that legislation will be introduced in the 2016 General Assembly Session that attempts to address many of the concerns that we anticipate will be brought forward.

It is our desire to ensure that the privacy and safety of the citizens of our great state are protected, but that we also allow this growing industry to continue to flourish in Georgia.

We also plan to hold one joint meeting with a subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee Chaired by Senator Judson Hill. This meeting will look for ways the state can encourage growth in this industry. With over 4.5 billion expected to be spent on drones annually by 2020 there is most certainly a great opportunity for Georgia to attract manufactures and other businesses that are working in this growth market.

The first meeting will be held on Sept. 30 at the Georgia Tech Research Facility at 250 14th Street in Atlanta from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

At the meeting we will hear from Georgia Tech researchers who are actively working on the cutting edge of this technology.

We will also hear from the FAA about what regulations they currently have in place and where they see the regulatory environment moving over the next few years. I encourage anyone who has an interest to attend.

Representative Kevin Tanner can be reached at (678) 776-5059 or via email at Kevin.Tanner.house.ga.