Subsidies for drones and flying taxis approved by the house committee (correct)

A House committee introduced a pair of bipartisan bills aimed at better preparing the United States for more drones and futuristic aviation like flying taxis.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved legislation (HR 5315) by 54-4 Thursday that would create an infrastructure inspection grant program to fund drones that could help find cracks in bridges . Lawmakers also backed a bill (HR 6270) in a 55-2 vote that would provide grants to develop advanced air mobility infrastructure, where flying taxis could land, for example.

The aviation industry lobbied for both grant programs, arguing they would help more state agencies acquire drone technology to review infrastructure and prepare the country for future aviation technologies. NASA said this week it was working on solutions to where air taxi vehicles will take off and land.

Photo: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

A cargo drone takes off during a demonstration at vertiport Air-One, developed by Urban-Air Port, for vertical take-off and landing of flying taxis and autonomous delivery drones, in Coventry, UK, on ​​25 April 2022. As dozens of fledgling aerospace companies race to commercialize flying taxis, attracting billions in investment, spending on so-called vertiports has lagged.

The drone bill approved by the committee would provide $100 million for a grant program to increase the use of small drones for infrastructure projects and $100 million for training in the use of the technology. It has been touted by groups such as the US Chamber of Commerce, which sent a letter supporting the bill to lawmakers last month, and the National Association of State Aviation Officials.

“This will not only help state aviation agencies acquire drone technology to safely inspect critical infrastructure, but will also strengthen the manpower needed to manage it,” said Greg Pecoraro, president and chief operating officer. direction of NASAO, when introducing the legislation.

The committee also approved legislation to establish a $25 million pilot program to provide grants to plan advanced air mobility infrastructure, such as vertiports, where air taxis could land. Companies working on flying taxis include Joby Aviation Inc., Archer Aviation Inc. and Beta Technologies Inc., while companies like Ferrovial Vertiports are working on ground infrastructure.

Read more: All of these flying taxis will need a place to land

representing Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure aviation subcommittee and sponsor of the aviation bill, told a hearing last month that flying taxis were the next technology emerging. He urged lawmakers and the Federal Aviation Administration to prepare for advanced air mobility aircraft, touting the bill as a way to help communities plan.

“Congress needs to be forward looking to address the issues of today while preparing for the issues of 2050,” Larsen said.

Read more: Flying taxis challenge FAA’s ability to monitor aviation noise

The National Business Aviation Association said the bill resulted from advocacy by the aviation industry and that the advanced air mobility industry has the potential to support nearly 300,000 jobs and grow into a $115 billion annual market. dollars by 2035.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lillianna Byington in washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sarah Babbage to [email protected]; Michaela Ross to [email protected]

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