New FAA Rules Clear Delivery Drones for Takeoff
Final rules governing unmanned aircraft, commonly known as drones, were released Monday by the Federal Aviation Administration, a move expected to open the door for delivery of consumer packages by air.
The rules establish minimum standards for safety so drones can fly over populated areas and at night, under certain conditions.
According to an FAA statement, the rules come at a time when drones represent the fastest-growing segment in the entire transportation sector. Currently there are more than 1.7 million drone registrations and 203,000 FAA-certificated remote pilots, the agency stated.
"These final rules carefully address safety, security and privacy concerns while advancing opportunities for innovation and utilization of drone technology," U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao said in the statement.
A cornerstone of the new rules is a requirement that drones flying over populated areas include remote identification.
"Remote ID is essential to identify the location, altitude, velocity, flight path, and performance characteristics of unmanned drones in public or any airspace," explained L. Nicole France, a principal analyst and vice president at Constellation Research.
"That airspace awareness ensures safe operation for other aircraft and people on the ground," she told TechNewsWorld. "It ensures that the FAA, including air traffic control, national security agencies, and local law enforcement can also distinguish compliant aircraft and operations from those that may be dangerous or illegal."