An airplane flies over a drone Jan. 1, 2015. WASHINGTON -- There will be 600,000 commercial drone aircraft operating in the U.S. within the year as the result of new safety rules that opened the skies to them on Monday, according to a Federal Aviation Administration estimate. The rules governing the operation of small commercial drones were designed to protect safety without stifling innovation, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told a news conference. Commercial operators initially complained that the new rules would be too rigid. The agency responded by creating a system to grant exemptions to some of the rules for companies that show they can operate safely, Huerta said.
The Federal Aviation Administration is predicting a bright future for the growth of the commercial and hobbyist drone industries after final regulations are approved. In an aerospace forecast report released Thursday, the FAA said unmanned aircraft systems will be the "most dynamic growth sector within aviation." It noted that venture capitalists have already sunk "considerable" funds into the industry in hopes of building early market share. Already, the FAA predicted that 1.9 million hobbyist drones will be sold this year, along with more than 600,000 commercial drones. The FAA predicts that 4.3 million hobbyist drones could be sold per year by 2020.
Drones are flown at a training class in Las Vegas in anticipation of new regulations allowing their commercial use. Drones are flown at a training class in Las Vegas in anticipation of new regulations allowing their commercial use. We are in "one of the most dramatic periods of change in the history of transportation," says Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. He was talking about all of it: the self-driving cars, the smart-city movement, the maritime innovations. The Federal Aviation Administration expects some 600,000 drones to be used commercially within a year.
FILE - In this May 21, 2015 file photo, Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta, speaks during a news conference at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J. Federal aviation officials estimate there will be 600,000 commercial drone aircraft operating in the U.S. within the year as the result of new safety rules that went into effect on Monday, Aug. 29, 2016. Huerta said at a news conference that the rules governing the operation of small commercial drones are designed to protect safety without stifling innovation.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will announce its first rules permitting businesses to fly drones for limited purposes Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported. The move is likely to spark further demands for easing restrictions on unmanned aircraft. The announcement, which will allow drones weighing roughly 50 pounds to fly at low altitudes only in daylight and within sight of operators, is imminent, agency officials reportedly said. The Journal reported that the rules are unlikely to please some proposed commercial operations of drones, which would like the aircraft to be allowed to operate at nights and outside the operator's line of sight. Millions of new users have been attracted annually by commercial drone operations in the U.S. alone.