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Commitment to Safety, Professionalism and Respect': Drone Operators Get Flight Ethics 'Pledge


"We will respect the concerns of the public as they relate to unmanned aircraft operations."


PITTSBURGH (The Blaze/AP) -- A trade group for drone aircraft manufacturers and operators is releasing the industry's first "code of conduct," partly in response to growing privacy concerns as the industry expands into civilian aviation.

(Related: Expanding drone legislation 'raising an alarm with the American public')

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International said Monday made these recommendations for "safe, non-intrusive operation" to "[minimize] risk and [instill] confidence in our systems."

Citizens, civil liberties groups and politicians have voiced worries that the small aircraft, which can easily be outfitted with cameras, raise the specter of a "surveillance society."

The industry's new recommendations pledge to "respect the privacy of individuals."

“The emergence of unmanned aircraft systems represents one of the most significant advancements to aviation, the scientific community, and public service since the beginning of flight,” Michael Toscano, President and CEO of AUVSI, said in a statement. “With a commitment to safety, professionalism and respect, we can ensure unmanned aircraft are integrated responsibly into civil airspace.

“By proactively adhering to these guidelines, we want to demonstrate how the rights of individuals and the safety of all users of civil airspace are our top priority, as we work to unlock the incredible potential this technology holds,” Toscano said.

Here are a few statements from the code:

We will not operate UAS in a manner that presents undue risk to persons or property on the surface or in the air

We will ensure UAS flights will be conducted only after a thorough assessment of risks associated with the activity.

We will cooperate fully with federal, state, and local authorities in response to emergency deployments, mishap investigations, and media relations.

We will respect the concerns of the public as they relate to unmanned aircraft operations.

We will support improving public awareness and education on the operation of UAS.

Read more of the two-page code here.

The Federal Aviation Administration is devising new rules for unmanned aircraft, but the technology is available now.

(Related: Where are the 63 drone sites approved by the FAA in the U.S.)

The nonprofit industry association has been in existence for 40 years and has members in more than 60 countries.

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