Four companies were given the OK to bypass the federal bar of using drones for commercial purposes—for construction site monitoring and oil rig flare stack inspections, regulators said Wednesday.
“Unmanned aircraft offer a tremendous opportunity to spur innovation and economic activity by enabling many businesses to develop better products and services for their customers and the American public,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We want to foster commercial uses of this exciting technology while taking a responsible approach to the safety of America’s airspace.”
The Federal Aviation Administration has maintained since at least 2007 that the commercial operation of drones is illegal. Earlier this year, it began slowly granting exceptions on an application-by-application basis.
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