FAA releases report detailing categories for drones flying over crowds

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 9:11 AM

Today, that report was officially released, with all the juicy (and boring) details you’ve arrive to expect from government task force briefings.

FAA releases report detailing categories for drones flying over crowds

On Monday, the Associated Press got early access to a report commissioned by the FAA on how drones flying over or close people should be categorized and restricted. Today, that report was officially released, with all the juicy (and boring) details you’ve arrive to expect from government task force briefings.

The full report, available here on the FAA’s site (PDF), doesn’t differ much from what leaked on Monday — four categories, escalating from under-250-gram micro-drones up to larger, more risky ones that require closer scrutiny and damage mitigation plans. We ran them down earlier, so you can read that or skim through the executive summary in the report itself.

The major addition to existing approval processes would be official tests of force and danger of bodily damage from a given drone. Think of how the FCC tests phones to create sure their radiation output is within acceptable limits. Presently think of a lab love that where they ram 50-pound drones into a wall full of sensors and record it in unhurried motion. (A YouTube channel is born.)

The committee’s findings aren’t law or rule, or anything really except the opinions of experts requested formally by the FAA. Real regulations will have to be made by real regulators, but they get these recommendations seriously. There will be a public comment period for any proposed rules, too, during which you or any of the participants in the task force can object or suggest improvements.

We’ll be on the look for the official regulation proposal over the following few months, as well as rules that are still pending, regarding commercial utilize and automated operation in populated areas.

Curious what industry reps the FAA chose to assistance set up these new rules? Here’s the full list of participants in the committee.

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