The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is about to make it a lot easier for companies that use drones. As it stands, any commercial drone flight in the U.S. is banned, but that’s not going to be the case for long.
Hundreds of requests have been made by commercial companies to grant an exemption, but the FAA has only granted 48 exemptions so far. That’s about to change.
The New Rules
Soon, the FAA (according to sources near to the problem) will not require companies that have exemptions to gain a certificate of authority to use the drones, as is currently the case. So far, nobody from the FAA has made a public announcement, but that is expected to occur next week or later this month.
Lifting the ban on commercial drones would be huge for some companies that are built entirely around using drones. Additionally, those companies that have already been granted exemptions would have more movement to use the drones, since the new rule would indicate the a new certificate of authority is not needed per drone user.
Some of the companies that already have exemptions include movie production companies, Berkshire Hathaway, State Farm, and a number of other companies. Drones could be used in movies, for example, to make shooting films easier and to provide new angles. While the FAA once saw a problem with this type of drone use, that is no longer the case, and it appears as though the threat has largely dissipated.
Of course, one of the companies that has been eagerly awaiting drone exemption is Amazon. Amazon has stated for some time now that the company wants to start making some deliveries through drone use, but that can’t happen until the FAA approves the use of drones through the company. Amazon has received clearance to use drones in an outdoor facility, but the company wants much more than that.
The new rules could mean that you’ll see drones from companies like Amazon flying around much more often. Currently, the process for applying for FAA approval is lengthy and tedious, and that’s why the FAA is considering changing the rules. It often takes months to get one drone use certificate approved. Those opposed to the current FAA rules state that it simply takes too long to get that approval, and the process needs to be streamlined.
Even though the FAA is moving towards lifting the ban, anything that goes through such a large administration is bound to take time. It might be years before companies are given the green light, but the fact that the FAA is considering revising the rules means that there is progress being made, however slow that progress might be.
For now, companies will still have to deal with the lengthy exemption process, and companies like Amazon will have to wait until the restrictions are lifted to start making deliveries via drone. Would you like to see commercial drone use bans lifted? Should companies be able to fly drones freely?