Despite a partial government shutdown in the United States, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced a new proposed rule that would simplify the process of flying drones at night and over crowds of people by removing the need for waivers.
The proposed rule, which can be read as a draft (PDF), would remove the need for commercial drone operators to file for waivers granting them permission to fly both at night and over large gatherings of people. It would also drones to have ‚an anti-collision light illuminated and visible for at least 3 statute miles, according to the document proposal.
‚This will help communities reap the considerable economic benefits of this growing industry, and help our country remain a global technology leader,‘ said Chao in her statement to the nonprofit Transportation Research Board.
DJI chimed in on the proposed rule change with a blog post on its website that begins by stating:
DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, welcomes the U.S. Department of Transportation’s proposals announced today to help expand the use of drones in America, and looks forward to a substantive discussion that balances the requirements of the proposed rules with the benefits they would achieve.
The proposed rule change also lists out new rules for smaller drones. Specifically, drones weighing less than .55lbs / 250g would be able to fly over crowds without any new restrictions. However, drones weighing more would need their manufacturers to prove that if the drone ‚crashed into a person, the resulting injury would be below a certain severity threshold,‘
The proposed rule change will be open for public comment for 60 days before anything can be set in stone.