More than two years after receiving warnings about a regulatory loophole that could put law enforcement at risk from booby-trapped drones, the Federal Aviation Administration said it will use a truncated public process to fix the problem within two weeks.
The move was part of a dizzying array of proposed rules and regulatory changes published last week by the Trump administration, which wants to roll back rules on use of the devices while simultaneously taking steps to ease concerns raised by security officials.
In a significant shift, the FAA is also proposing to end its general prohibition on flying drones over people, relying on research and regulations concerning the risks of people getting hit by debris from missile and rocket launches to help make the case.
As part of a trove of documents published Wednesday, the FAA also said it is considering new limits on how and where drones can fly and what payloads they can carry, given security concerns, and they’ve asked the industry and public for advice on how far officials should go.
Administration boosters and industry advocates promise that the highly sophisticated small aircraft will spur far-reaching economic and social benefits, from food and medicine delivery to more eco-friendly application of fertilizer. Skeptics argue that drones can easily be misused to invade privacy or carry dangerous cargo, and are a nuisance. Read more