You could fill a book with all of the potential uses that commercial drones have for both companies and individuals, and you could fill a second book with all of the risks involved. Obviously banning drones altogether won’t sit well with people, so the government has to work out how to regulate them, which falls under the jurisdiction of the FAA. The agency has already proposed some rules for commercial drones flights, which it will vote on later this month, and thousands of people have already commented on them.
The Federal Aviation Administration has received over 2,000 comments on its proposed rules for commercial drone flights in the U.S. The 2,000th comment was received Wednesday and hundreds more are likely to be filed before the deadline on April 24. Some of the comments assail the FAA for allowing companies to fly drones, saying it will lead to noiser and more dangerous skies. Others ask the agency why it took so long for it to get this far. The FAA proposed a broad set of rules that would allow companies to fly drones as long as they stick to several basic conditions: no higher than 500 feet, no faster than 100 miles per hour, and only during daylight. Drones would have to be flown by a licensed operator—a newly created certification—and kept within visual line-of-sight. Drones would always have to give way to other air traffic and could not fly over people who aren’t involved in their operation. Announcing the proposed rules in February, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx called it “an exciting day for aviation,” although the feedback so far suggests that isn’t a universally held view.