The Federal Aviation Administration has finalized news rules that allow fully automated drones to fly “over people”.
This big update could mean we are a step closer to commercial drone use for agriculture, infrastructure repair, and eventually, even deliveries from companies like Amazon.
Although the rules won’t immediately open up city skies for delivery companies, It includes four categories of commercial drones that can fly over people, according to the FAA.
According to Business Insider, American Robotics is the first company to get drone approval and they say the first commercial uses will be outside cities, with drones helping with industrial and agricultural jobs.
The newly finalized rule “operation of small unmanned aircraft systems over people”, will also allow some autonomous drones to fly at night.
It will take full effect 60 days after Friday’s publication in the FAA’s federal register.
The agency says the city of New York, for example, had objected to city flights because it “is home to huge volumes of manned air traffic, skyscrapers which block and reflect signals, and one of the most complex and noisy radio frequency environments”.
Specific categories of drones will be able to fly over outdoor assemblies of people, provided they meet regulations.
However, they can’t contain any exposed rotating parts that would lacerate human skin on impact with a person.
Military and police forces around the U.S. have widely used drones for various uses, including telling people to stay home during the pandemic.