FAA lays out plan to loosen its limits on drones

Drone silhouette
A DJI Phantom drone. (Xray40000 Photo via Flickr)

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued draft regulations that would smooth the way for drones to fly at night and over groups of innocent bystanders.

Such operations are already technically allowed, but only with a waiver or an exemption. If the proposed regulations go into effect, drone flights at night and over people could become more routine.

Looser limits could also bring America closer to the day when companies such as Amazon and Walmart routinely deliver shipments via drone.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao highlighted the proposed regulations on Monday during remarks to the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., which proceeded despite the partial government shutdown.

Chao said the easing of limits on drone flights “will help communities reap the considerable economic benefits of this growing industry and help our country remain a global technology leader.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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