Google for the first time included “unmanned aerial vehicle technology” on a list of its lobbying objectives, suggesting the company has growing ambitions for “Project Wing,” its secretive project that aims to deliver packages by drone.
The new drone lobbying effort, spotted by Politico Pro, is aimed at Congress and the Department of Transportation, and comes as part of the $3.7 million that [company]Google[/company] spent in the last quarter alone on its overall lobbying efforts.
As you can see from a screenshot of this filing, which companies must file to describe their lobbying efforts, Google also spent money to talk to lawmakers about its driverless car program:
Google is not the only tech company to lobby on drone policy. Filings show [company]Amazon[/company], which spent $1.18M on lobbying in Q3, has also listed unmanned aircraft as a topic in its filings for the past several quarters. Meanwhile, [company]Facebook[/company], which also has aerial ambitions, spent $2.45M on lobbying in Q3, but none of it on drone-related issues.
I asked Google for details about what it thinks lawmakers should do on federal aviation policy, but the company only provided a generic statement. Amazon likewise declined to provide specifics, and referred me to its PrimeAir website.
Both companies are likely watching the FAA closely. The agency has repeatedly blown deadlines to create rules, mandated by Congress, that would integrate unmanned aircraft into the nation’s airspace. In the meantime, the FAA is tangled in lawsuits with businesses and universities over its restrictive policies, even as drone-based industries take off north of the border.
Google’s latest filing also includes a laundry list of other policy items, including patent reform, DMCA (copyright), spectrum allocation and open internet.