Sunday, March 18, 2012

FAA Grants Two More Drone Exemptions

This drone, the eBee, is used to help with precision farming.

This drone, the eBee Sensefly, is used to help with precision farming

While the FAA doesn’t seem to be any closer to formalizing and announcing rules, regulations and conditions for the use of commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones, GPS World reported last week that they have issued yet more exemptions to the ban on the use of drones. At this rate, we won’t need regulations anymore—everyone who wants it can just get an exemption! You might recall in December how they granted five exemptions to various companies.

The two most recent companies that were issued the regulatory exemptions include Advanced Aviation Solutions of Spokane Washington and Tierra Antiqua Reality of Tuscon, Arizona Advanced Aviation Solutions. One company intends to use the eBee Sensefly UAS in order to conduct photogrammetry and crop scouting to aid in precise farming. The other company intends to use a Phantom 2 Vision+ UAS drone to take photos and videos to augment real estate listings and intends to “operate it over various areas near Tucson to enhance academic community awareness.”

Both drones are pretty small (one is just over a pound and the other is three pounds) and are yet one step further towards consumer adoption of this new technology. Of course, the FAA does still technically have a ban on all UAS used for commercial purposes and I haven’t heard anything new on that since December, when the FAA stated that they needed more time to create rules. Not only are they going to miss this year’s deadline, but the FAA indicated that we might have to wait until 2017 for them to be ready. Way to drop the ball there, guys.

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