Drones have become a part of our lives in the last couple of years. We use them for recreational purposes, the governments of different countries use them for gathering information, and we can even race our drones. They are also used by media in order to capture truly amazing footage from places where they normally shouldn’t have access, and some people even use them to spy their neighbors. One thing people couldn’t use drones for until Monday was commerce. Even though there was a huge demand from several companies who wanted to use drones in order to deliver their products, for some reasons, this activity was banned.
Thankfully, as of Monday, these little gadgets can also be flown commercially. On August 29 a set of federal drone rules took effect, and as of that moment, companies can use these devices in their commercial activities also. However, these new rules still impose some regulations, drones still can’t be used freely, without any boundaries. They can only be flown during the day for instance. Once it gets dark, companies aren’t allowed to use drones for their deliveries, no matter the urgency. Another regulation states that these flying gadgets can not be flown above people, other than the ones that are somehow related to them, or their activity.
According to The Washington Post, even though people who fly them won’t need a license per say, they will still need to take a test similar to the one taken by those who want to get their driving license. To be honest, it’s only natural that they should pass a written test on aeronautical knowledge, given the fact that they will have control over devices that are pretty heavy and can cause serious accidents if they are mishandled. It also helps that according to the regulations these devices can’t be flown higher than 400 feet, and they always need to be within the visual contact of the operator. Even so, these flying gadgets can reach speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, so they can cause serious damage if they aren’t flown correctly.
The new regulations are a step forward, but it’s still not exactly what the companies who were planning on using drones commercially have hoped for. Given the fact that the devices always need to stay in the visual area of the operator, it’s hard to say that the regulations offer a lot of autonomy to companies like Amazon, who wanted to deliver their products by these flying gadgets. Thankfully, these are the general regulations, but they can be waived by the FAA at the request of the interested parties. Companies who decide to apply for special testing waivers can be allowed to fly their devices during the night, or even over people who aren’t related to the flight in any way. You might ask yourself, why did they adopt the general regulations then? Well, because not everyone will apply for the special testing waivers, and some ground rules needed to be set. Of course, only because someone applied for the special testing waivers will not necessarily get them. However, the majority of the requests are approved, so there is a great chance that eventually everyone who really needs to fly their drones during the night or over people will get to do so. That is if they can prove they have a serious reason to do so.
Those who choose to go against the regulations and fly their devices in other ways than the ones allowed by this set of rules will be punished. It’s highly likely that the punishment will consist in a fine, which can be quite high if we consider the ones applied to non-commercial users who didn’t regiter their gadgets with the federal government. As we already said, it might not be everything we have hoped for, but the new regulations are a step forward, and we might actually get our pizza or different products via drones sometime in the future. We are definitely one step closer to the era of deliveries that don’t need to be made by actual humans.