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The Next Frontier for Drones: Letting Them Fly Out of Sight

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A drone in flight.

The FAA said it is still reviewing how it will roll out routine operations enabling some drones to fly beyond visual line of sight, although it it has signaled that the permissions will be reserved for commercial applications, not hobbyists.

Credit: Matt O’Brien/Associated Press

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is preparing to relax some safety requirements for commercial drone applications, but not for hobbyists or other noncommercial usage.

The agency has granted 230 waivers to power companies, railways, delivery services, and others to fly drones beyond the visual line of sight.

Said Adam Bry of drone maker Skydio, "Our ultimate goal is you shouldn't need a waiver for this process at all. It becomes an accepted practice."

Critics of the pending changes to the rules are concerned about the potential for drone collisions with hot air balloons and other lightweight aircraft, as well as drone-related privacy issues.

From Associated Press
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