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U.S. Department of Transportation Aims to Relax Laws on Drone Use

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced proposed regulations for drone operators which will involve public consultation and encourage greater adoption and safer drone operation in the long term. The first begins with proposed regulations to allow drone operators to fly over people as well as at night without a waiver or an exemption – this is important as 99% of applications to fly above people are currently denied, and you will be able to fly beyond line of sight. Secondly, it issued an advanced notice of proposed rule-making which asked for people’s recommendations on countering drones that pose a risk to safety and security, such as getting opinions on required minimum stand-off distances for unmanned aircraft – a hot topic considering the recent situation in the UK with Gatwick Airport and its festive season shutdown. Thirdly, the DOT awarded three contracts to commercial service entities to develop technology to provide flight planning, communications, separation, and weather services for drones under 400 feet. This aims to develop a fully comprehensive traffic management system for drones. Although these regulations will not come into effect immediately, it is a starting point for more unrestricted drone operation in the future.

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