Gov't proposes rules for routine commercial use of drones

Quadrocopter Drone
Posted at 6:13 PM, Feb 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-17 18:13:00-05

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is proposing rules to usher in a new era in which small, commercial drones zipping through U.S. skies are a part of everyday life.

It is likely to be two or three years before the rules are made final, but federal officials said Sunday that once they are in place the economic and safety benefits of unmanned aircraft are expected to be enormous.

Among the chores that officials envision drones performing: Aerial photography and mapping, crop monitoring, and inspections of cell towers, bridges and other tall structures.

But the proposal includes safety restrictions such as keeping drones within sight of operators at all times and no nighttime flights. That could mean no package or pizza deliveries by drone.