The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is planning to enact new standards for unmanned drones, which could be the first step toward the eventual mainstream acceptance of deliveries via drones, according to reports.
The proposal was disclosed on Monday (Feb. 3) in a Federal Register filing. In the dry and technical language, Amazon scores a win, along with other companies that want to use drones to deliver packages.
The policy lays out a set of rules for drones similar to those used to regulate gliders and other light-weight aircrafts. Under the new standards, the FAA certifies the safety of some types of drones, and gives operators some leeway to decide how they’re flown. After a model is flown, the FAA would apparently allow it to fly throughout the country if the required maintenance, pilot procedures and other such things were checked off properly.
With the rules being proposed in an official capacity, the FAA is moving to classify drones as a “special class” of aircraft, which would give drones the kind of regulatory certainty currently enjoyed by aircrafts like airliners, helicopters, business jets and small private planes.
The FAA’s standards don’t specify a timeline, and widespread drone delivery for common retail use is still years in the future. There are still numerous issues that the FAA has admitted it needs to work on, such as completing rules for the remote registration of hundreds of thousands of drones used for commercial operations.
The proponents of drone deliveries, like Amazon and other such companies, have argued that some specific models of drones are needed for the promotion of a more rapid growth of package delivery options. The FAA said it supports transitioning drones into widespread use, along with airborne taxis. For now, though, this policy will be the extent of its action.