The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Monday that small drones will now be allowed to fly over people and even at night in the United States, in what many see as a huge leap forward towards the mainstream use of the gadgets for commercial deliveries.

The FAA added that in the long-awaited rules for drones (also known as UAVs- unmanned aerial vehicles) are included portions addressing security concerns by requiring remote identification technology in most applications, so they can be identified from the ground.

Previously, small drone operations over people were limited to flying above people who were directly participating in the flyover, done under covered structures or performed inside a stationary vehicle, unless operators got a waiver from the FAA.

The skies will be abuzz

The rule will be in effect 60 days after publication in the federal register in January. Drone manufacturers will then have 18 months to begin making drones with Remote ID while operators will have an additional year to avail the Remote ID to the relevant authorities.

These simple rules are not the only ones included. There are more complex requirements for operations at night and over people for larger drones.

The new rules make way for the integration of drones into the American airspace by considering safety concerns.

The drone rush

Companies in the drone industry have been rushing to create drone fleets, resulting in a remarkable 1.7 million registered drones in the United States and 203,000 FAA-certified remote pilots for them.

For night operations, they are required to have anti-collision lights and, in some cases, the rules have provisions for flying over moving vehicles.

The remote ID is a must for all drones weighing 0.25 kgs or more but only required for smaller drones in certain environments like flying over open-air gatherings.