WASHINGTON (AP) — A government-sponsored committee is recommending standards that could clear the way for commercial drone flights over populated areas and help speed the introduction of package delivery drones and other uses not yet possible, The Associated Press has learned.
The Federal Aviation Administration currently prohibits most commercial drone flights over populated areas, especially crowds. That ban frustrates a host of industries that want to take advantage of the technology.
"Every TV station in the country wants one, but they can't be limited to flying in the middle of nowhere because there's no news in the middle of nowhere," said Jim Williams, a former head of FAA's drone office who now advises the industry for Dentons, athn international law firm.
Cellular network providers also want to loosen restrictions so drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, can inspect cell towers, which often are in urban areas. Amazon's vision for package deliveries entails drones winging their way over city and suburban neighborhoods.