The Strategist

US watchdog expands conditions for commercial use of UAVs

12/30/2020 - 04:34

The US Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced new rules for the use of commercial drones.

Under the new rules, drones weighing more than 0.25kg must have Remote ID, which allows for identification of drones in flight, as well as information on the location of their control and management points.

In addition, drones are allowed to fly over people and at night, provided that certain conditions are met. 

For example, only small drones with their blades covered with special protection are allowed to fly over people and drones flying at night must have flashing lights that can be seen from at least 3 miles (4.8 km) in clear weather. Details of the conditions are set out in the relevant guidelines.

The FAA stresses that the new regulations come at a time when drones have become the fastest growing segment of the transportation industry: there are now some 1.7 million drones registered in the US and 203,000 FAA-certified drone pilots. 

"The new regulations should ensure safety without impeding innovation and the use of drones," said US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.