And the Federal Aviation Administration said its long-awaited rules on drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, address security concerns by requiring remote identification technology in most cases to enable identification from the ground.
Previously, operations of small drones flying over people were limited to people directly participating in the process, unless the operator obtained approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The rules will take effect 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register in January.
Aircraft manufacturers will have 18 months to start producing drones with remote identification technology, and operators will have an additional year to introduce remote identification technology.
There are other, more complex rules that allow for operations of larger drones at night in some cases.
“The new rules open the way for more drones incorporation into our airspace by addressing safety and security concerns,” said Federal Aviation Administration Director (Steve Dickson).
“The new rules bring us closer to the day we routinely see drone deliveries,” he added.
Companies are racing to create unmanned aircraft fleets to speed up deliveries, and the United States has more than 1.7 million records for unmanned aircraft and 203,000 remote pilots certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.
For night operations, the Federal Aviation Administration said aircraft must be equipped with anti-collision lights.
The administration requires remote identification technology for all drones weighing 0.25kg or more, but it is required for small drones under certain conditions, such as flights over outdoor gatherings.
The new rules remove the requirements for connecting drones to the Internet to transmit location data, but they do so by broadcasting identity messages remotely via radio frequency transmission.
Without this change, it would have been possible to prevent the use of such aircraft in areas without an Internet connection.
The International Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems said: The remote identification technology acts as a digital license plate for the aircraft, allowing more complex operations during operations at night and over people, which are important steps towards integrating these aircraft into national airspace.
In August, Amazon’s drone service received federal approval allowing the retailer to begin testing commercial deliveries with its fleet of drones.
Walmart said in September that it was running a pilot project to deliver grocery and household products via drones, but acknowledged that it could be some time before we see millions of parcels being delivered via those planes.