WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Drone Infrastructure Inspection Grant (DIIG) Act to help utilize drone technology to inspect critical infrastructure. This bipartisan bill would authorize $100 million in competitive grants to help local governments fund more opportunities to use American-made drones in critical infrastructure inspections, maintenance or construction projects.
“There’s no reason not to utilize drone technology that’s produced right here in America to more efficiently and effectively assess the safety of our bridges, railways and other infrastructure,” said Boozman. “In Arkansas, we’ve seen the numerous benefits they offer – from precision agriculture to law enforcement missions and enhancing manual inspections – but we’re also at the forefront of guarding against reliance on foreign-based manufacturers to supply unmanned aircraft systems. Our bipartisan bill helps expand this vision nationwide and invests in educational opportunities necessary to create more skilled operators and techniciansDrones have been used to help inspect infrastructure projects and prevent catastrophes. In 2021, drone footage helped reveal a severe crack in the I-40 bridge connecting Arkansas and Tennessee, which carries an estimated 40,000 vehicles across the Mississippi River every day.
This legislation would also enable research universities to access grants for programs geared toward training the next generation of workers who operate drones.