droneThe Federal Aviation Administration recently announced a new policy regarding commercial drones. It’s good news for inventors and tech businesses hoping their new products will soon take flight. With new technology in play, the FAA has outlined a plan for unmanned aircraft systems, or UASs, that stresses safety and prevents an invasion of air space by small and micro drones. As the division of the U.S. Department of Transportation that oversees sky traffic control, the FAA’s proposal recommended weight and altitude restrictions, but didn’t prohibit non-recreational craft entirely. Operator guidelines for UASs, which are commonly referred to as drones, were also addressed, opening the door for the develop of drones controlled by custom rubber keypads.

Weight Restrictions
As technological advancements give rise to UASs in sports, entertainment and mapping surveys, small drones are the main stars of a new race for air space. This means using heavier materials in drones such as plastic and metal could prevent permits and curb use in future innovations. Designers of small drones that don’t meet the 55-pound weight restriction may need to go back to the drawing board and use lighter materials, such as silicone rubber components, to comply with new regulations proposed by the FAA. To assist with weight compliance, silicone rubber components can be used for lightweight drone designs as skins, hydraulic and pneumatic tubing, seals, O-rings, gaskets, interior lining and more.

FAA-DroneRemote Control
The FAA has recommended a flight ceiling of 500 feet and a speed limit of 100 miles per hour for small drones. Among the recently proposed plans for UAS technology is that remote control operators must remain in the line of sight of the drone. While custom rubber keypads are just one method of control, they do offer a viable option for outdoor use. When designed to correspond with a particular set of buttons, users can manipulate flight from the ground using innovations with printed circuit boards, membrane circuits, polyester domes or metal domes. Under the proposed regulations, custom silicone rubber keypads can be built to specifications and are suitable for outdoor use as remote controls. When manufactured using high quality silicone and the injection molding process, UAS controls can be used in extreme hot and cold weather conditions. Under the proposed operational limits and guidelines, those controlling drones wouldn’t be required to have a pilot’s license or training. They must, however, be at least 17 years old, pass a knowledge test and possess a UAS operator’s certificate from the FAA.

As unmanned flight technology moves forward, new federal regulations are put in place to keep pace with development. The growing need and interest in UAS innovations calls for new product designs that will include silicone rubber molding and custom rubber keypads to stay in line with government guidelines. Contact SiTECH in Newport News, Virginia, for more information on how our quality products can be integrated into your new technology.

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