Federal officials unveiled proposed rules Sunday for the operation of small commercial drones, potentially opening the skies to greater use of unmanned aircraft to perform tasks such as inspecting bridges, assisting in search-and-rescue operations, taking aerial photos of real estate and shooting scenes for movies and television.
In announcing the proposal, Federal Aviation Administration chief Michael Huerta said he expected commercial drones would “dramatically change the way we use our nation’s airspace.”
Notably, though, the proposed rules would prohibit paid package delivery, as both Amazon and Google have experimented with, and dropping objects from drones. They also would require that a drone remain in sight of its operator.
Amazon has trumpeted its Prime Air project, which seeks to one day get deliveries into customers’ hands in 30 minutes through use of small, unmanned aerial vehicles. The proposed rules leave out Prime Air, said Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president for global public policy. He called on the government to issue guidelines for package delivery by drone as well.
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