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UPDATE 1-White House to hold summit Wednesday on advanced air mobility

·2 min read

(Adds details on officials attending the summit, White House comments, background)

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON, Aug 1 (Reuters) - The White House on Wednesday will hold a summit on advanced air mobility, including drones and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, a spokesperson confirmed.

The summit, hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), will include NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, Federal Aviation Administration acting chief Billy Nolen and Joby Aviation CEO JoeBen Bevirt. It will look at the "the future of aviation in America and the regulatory strategy towards responsible and equitable adoption of these technologies."

The summit will address how advanced air mobility (AAM) can help achieve goals for U.S. domestic policy, national security, climate and job creation, the White House said. It will also look at the "future of aviation in America and the regulatory strategy towards responsible and equitable adoption of these technologies," and at challenges of integrating drones and eVTOLs into the national airspace.

Also speaking will be Gary Batton, chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Alondra Nelson, the acting director of OSTP, and Deputy White House Homeland Security Adviser Josh Geltzer.

The summit comes as the White House is pressing Congress to extend and expand government powers to detect and disable threatening drones. That expanded authority is set to expire in October.

The summit will include National Football League (NFL) Chief Security Officer Cathy Lanier along with Homeland Security and Justice Department officials.

On July 14, the NFL, Major League Baseball, NCAA and NASCAR sent a joint letter to Congress backing the Biden administration proposal for expanded drone authority, saying expansion of drone authority "will play an important role in helping to ensure the safety of major sporting events, including the safety of the millions of American fans who attend these events each year."

There are over 800,000 registered drones in the United States. The FBI has conducted 70 drone and counter-drone protection operations at large events like the Super Bowl since 2018. (Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington Editing by Chris Reese and Matthew Lewis)