Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, put up a post yesterday confirming that his company has been testing drones over in the United Kingdom.
The basic idea is to beam internet service down from drones that will eventually have a wingspan wider than a Boeing 737. Amazon, meanwhile, is also looking to the U.K. to develop its drone delivery service.
In the U.S., the FAA has proposed rules that would allow some commercial drone use, such as only flying during the day and at certain heights. The agency says it needs to balance safety and privacy with the economic potential these drones might represent.
While waiting for the rules to be finalized and implemented, permission to use unmanned aircraft commercially has to be given on a case-by-case basis. That’s largely grounded the real estate agents, photographers, farmers, and other professionals who might want to use drones at work, says Jon Resnik with DJI, a company that makes drones for personal and commercial use.
U.S. regulations are lagging behind European countries, Australia, and Canada, says Brendan Schulman, head of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice at the law firm Kramer Levin. But the FAA’s proposal is a good start, says Brian Wynne, the president of Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Still, he says the sooner drones can get off the ground, the sooner the industry can start contributing to the economy.
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