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Apr 7, 2016 | News

FAA tackles regulations for micro drones that operate over people

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently considering regulations that would allow certain small unmanned aircraft to operate over people who are not directly involved in their flight. The administration has developed the Micro Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to come up with recommendations for performance-based regulations. The committee has made its final regulations publicly available.

“We commend the committee members for their sincere dedication and for producing a comprehensive report in such a short time,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “This type of collaborative government and industry partnership is exactly what is needed to keep pace with this rapidly changing industry and will serve as a model for future rulemaking advisory tasks.”

According to the ARC’s report, it recommends that small UASes be split into four categories depending on a drone’s risk of injury to people below its flight path. The group recommends assigning a potential risk linked to weight or impact energy for each category, and addresses operational restrictions and standards to minimize risks associated with each category.

“The ARC began its discussion using traditional aviation risk models, considering: (1) risks to the safety of people and property in the air; (2) risks to the safety of people and property on the ground; (3) risks associated with aircraft integrity; and (4) risks associated with crew capability,” the committee wrote in its report.

The FAA will take the ARC’s recommendations into consideration as it develops a flexible, performance-based proposal.

“The FAA chartered this committee to enable the tremendous benefits of drone technology while ensuring the safety of the skies and the general public,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI’s vice president of policy and legal affairs. “We are pleased that the committee recommends a progressive approach that successfully balances these interests.”

In addition, the committee looked into recommended operations requirements, means of compliance for manufacturers, and a performance-based standard.