US to allow night and over-people small drone operations

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:


  • Reuters reported that small drones will be allowed to fly over people and in the evening in the United States.
  • Drones to operate at night are required to be equipped with anti-collision lights.
  • The United States has over 1.7 million drone registrations and 203,000 FAA-certificated remote pilots.



Addressing security concerns, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is allowing small drones to operate over people, including night shifts, in the United States, Reuters reported.

The FAA announced the safety approach on Monday, which is a significant step toward the use of small drones for widespread commercial deliveries.

Mainly, the unmanned aerial tools will require remote identification technology to enable identification from the ground. Previously, small drone setups over people were limited — only those who were directly participating in the operation, located under a covered structure, or inside a stationary vehicle were covered, unless there was a waiver operators secured from the FAA.

The rules are expected to take effect in January, 60 days after publication in the federal register. Drone firms will have 18 months to produce drones with Remote ID, while operators will have an additional year to provide the ID.

For over-people and evening operations, as well as larger drones, more complicated rules apply.

It is mandatory for night drones to be equipped with anti-collision lights. Remote ID is required for all drones weighing 0.55 lb (0.25 kg) and above; it is required for smaller drones under certain circumstances like outdoor meetings.

According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Remote ID will function as “a digital license plate for drones … that will enable more complex operations” while operations at night and over people “are important steps towards enabling integration of drones into our national airspace.”

“The new rules make way for the further integration of drones into our airspace by addressing safety and security concerns,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said. “They get us closer to the day when we will more routinely see drone operations such as the delivery of packages.”

With the new rules, drones are no longer required to be connected to the internet to transmit location data, which used to obstruct operations in areas without internet access.

In October last year, United Parcel Service Inc. said that it secured the government’s first full approval to operate a drone airline.

Last year, Alphabet’s Wing, a sister unit of search engine Google, was the first company to get US air carrier certification for a single-pilot drone operation.

This year, the drone service of Amazon.com Inc. received in August its endorsement to test commercial deliveries through its drone taskforce. Meanwhile, in September, Walmart Inc. said it would run a pilot project for delivery of grocery and household products through automated drones, but acknowledged “it will be some time before we see millions of packages delivered via drone.”

The United States has over 1.7 million drone registrations and 203,000 FAA-certificated remote pilots. Manufacturers have been vying to create drone forces for fast deliveries.

Source: Reuters

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