drone over people

FAA says rules about drones flying over people could be announced by end of year

Drones may still be a new, niche technology, but the U.S. government is starting to recognize that they aren’t likely to go the way of other passing fads.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy hosted its first ever drone workshop on Tuesday, which brought together leaders from around the corporate world (Google and Intel) and government officials to discuss developments in the drone world.

Several drone-related announcements from various government agencies came out of the workshop, including news that the United States Postal Service is studying drone delivery and the National Science Foundation would make a $35 million commitment to research drones.

One of the biggest announcements came from the Federal Aviation Administration, which said that the existing restriction on commercial drones flying over people could be removed by the end of the year.

Most drone flights today are limited by rules preventing drones from flying directly over people or outside of the operator’s line of sight. That prohibits drones from being used for services like delivery, but also traffic monitoring, filming public events, infrastructure inspection and washing skyscraper windows.

Current rules do allow drones to fly over people who have given consent and are on a closed set, such as actors who consent to a camera drone flying overhead to film them.

FAA administrator Michael Huerta said that the goal to set in place rules by the end of the year is a lofty one, but it’s not impossible.

In 2015, the FAA made and rolled out rules on registration requirements for drone users in the span of about three months.

“That’s not a timeline that is supposed to be possible in government, but we got it done,” Huerta said.

Read the rest of this article where it was originally published on MarketWatch.com.

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