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US To Free Up Drone Flights

A US federal advisory group has proposed rules to significantly expand use of small commercial drones in the USA for purposes such as shooting news video or inspecting power lines in areas where it might be necessary to fly over large numbers of people.

Previously in the USA commercial drones have been banned from such flights.

The new rules would certainly stop short of permitting widespread use of unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver packages – usage sought by Google and Amazon among others – which would use smaller drones.

And all flights must be carried out within sight of a ground-based controller.

Drones weighing about 225 grams or less would be allowed to fly over people virtually without restriction. Larger drones would have to maintain a distance from people of at least 20 feet (8.8m) overhead and 10 feet (4.4m) laterally.

At this stage all this is just a proposal. It would require formal adoption by the USA’s Federal Aviation Administration, which is unlikely before the end of this year, according to people said to be in the know.

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