FAA, corporations & aviation groups draft new safety rules for flying drones near humans

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in General Discussion
A public/private committee organized by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has suggested preliminary rule changes for how close drones might fly to people, which could open up potential uses of the technology, such as air delivery.




"If it weighs less than 250 grams, or .55 pounds, you're approved, you can operate it over somebody's head," said FAA drone integration office director Earl Lawrence, quoted by BuzzFeed News. Lawrence helped co-chair the committee, which had the participation of 27 drone companies and aviation groups. Currently, no drone is allowed to fly within 500 feet of another person for fear of injury.

Lawrence argued that there's less than a 1 percent chance of a drone that small seriously injuring someone. Accordingly, such craft might be allowed to fly as close as 20 feet overhead or 10 feet to the side as they take off and land.

The committee suggested that weightier drones might also fly overhead, but only after their makers submit their drones to crash tests, and supply a safety affidavit to the FAA. Companies would have to prove that a craft has less than a 1 percent chance of serious injury.

Corporations participating in the committee included DJI, GoogleX, GoPro, and 3D Robotics.

Before being adopted, the committee's proposals must still pass FAA scrutiny, and as well as a period of public commentary. The group was also split on whether drone operators should have to pass an on-site test and government background check, or simply an online test, though the majority backed the latter option.

Some of the best-known drones might still be obligated to stay well away from humans. DJI's Phantom 4, for example, weighs 3 pounds and can travel as fast as 45 miles per hour.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,770member

    Lawrence argued that there's less than a 1 percent chance of a drone that small seriously injuring someone. Accordingly, such craft might be allowed to fly as close as 20 feet overhead or 10 feet to the side as they take off and land.
    10-20 ft buffer zone is not going to help much if the pilot is out of control.
     
    I bought a cheap lightweight drone just try it out, but there is no safe place to fly it nearby and it is a bit tricky to control. Even being a very light drone, I could imagine if one of the propellers were to strike you in the eye it could very well cause serious injury. Safety lenses might be a good idea when near an operating drone, especially with an inexperienced pilot at the controls.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 591member
    this is going to be a mess in populated areas...."10 feet to the side as they take off and land"......good luck with that...
  • Reply 3 of 14
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    NY1822 said:
    this is going to be a mess in populated areas...."10 feet to the side as they take off and land"......good luck with that...
    Well, if they can't do it, they get big ass fine, or if they injure someone they get sued into oblivion or go to jail for negligence; that will teach them.

    Drone operators need to learn their shiny toy doesn't give them the power to lord over everyone.
  • Reply 4 of 14
    eborebor Posts: 5member
    I am utterly against drones being allowed to fly except for a legitimate purpose, by people with a drone "driver's" license and requisite insurance, and most certainly not only for recreational purposes.  It is bewildering to see how this drone madness has been spiralling totally out of control recently.  Unless recreational drones are banned effectively (like in Tokyo, Japan), we definitely will see bad accidents (think drones flying into other aircraft) very shortly.  And just think about your neighbour sending his device to peek right at your pecker through the window when you take a shower.  Good luck with enforcing rules of such behaviour when these things are allowed to buzz about everywhere.   Those things need to go away, and quickly so.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    Maybe it's because I live in a less-populated area, or because I've been doing RC aircraft since the early 80's, or because I'm a filmmaker that wants to legally do a flyover of my scene... I don't get the panic over these small quadcopters.
    I used to fly big, heavy, gas-powered rc helicopters and boy, those things are dangerous and need an experienced pilot to fly them safely. Yet there is no outrage about those. They can hover, they can carry a camera, they can do anything these small plastic "drones" can do. I guess technically these now fall under the same regulations as the drones do now, unless you are doing it strictly as a hobby and follow the AMA rules...

    cnocbui
  • Reply 6 of 14
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,458member
    Maybe it's because I live in a less-populated area, or because I've been doing RC aircraft since the early 80's, or because I'm a filmmaker that wants to legally do a flyover of my scene... I don't get the panic over these small quadcopters.
    I used to fly big, heavy, gas-powered rc helicopters and boy, those things are dangerous and need an experienced pilot to fly them safely. Yet there is no outrage about those. They can hover, they can carry a camera, they can do anything these small plastic "drones" can do. I guess technically these now fall under the same regulations as the drones do now, unless you are doing it strictly as a hobby and follow the AMA rules...

    As you said..."experienced" pilot.  Now these things are easy for the average person to take control (not meaning they are in control) of and fly around.  Everyone wants to do it with out taking the time to learn and take into account others around them.

    Certification by AMA would be a good place to start.
  • Reply 7 of 14
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Maybe it's because I live in a less-populated area, or because I've been doing RC aircraft since the early 80's, or because I'm a filmmaker that wants to legally do a flyover of my scene... I don't get the panic over these small quadcopters.
    I used to fly big, heavy, gas-powered rc helicopters and boy, those things are dangerous and need an experienced pilot to fly them safely. Yet there is no outrage about those. They can hover, they can carry a camera, they can do anything these small plastic "drones" can do. I guess technically these now fall under the same regulations as the drones do now, unless you are doing it strictly as a hobby and follow the AMA rules...

    You're as atypical as they get and RC aircraft not only were hard to control, but also could only be used in certain areas.
    Drones will be a nightmare within 3 years.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    A lot of you are basing your perceptions on no experience or knowledge of drones ( small drones don't count) The small drones do not have any of the technology of the larger drones so yes the smaller drones are more dangerous than the larger drones that contain obstacle avoidance technology, gps and contain 6 props ( with 6 props if one motor dies there is still 5 props to control the drone compare to quadcopters if one motor dies it will fall out of the sky plus 6 props drones are more stable than quads). There is nothing wrong with recreational use of drones as long as its away from the airport and public places { stadiums, buildings downtown, where there is large groups of people) and most definitely away from people's backyard.

    I own three drones and I only use them for recreational but soon for business use. I fly my drones outside the city limits like the deserts and mountains also in city appointed fly zones in city limits. I love nature so i fly my drones out in the desert. So be careful there are good people who use drones for good reasons and with prudent and there is some who don't. Don't take away the rights of prudent users because there are bad users. Find a balance.
    edited April 2016 cnocbui
  • Reply 9 of 14
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,458member
    ...
    I own three drones and I only use them for recreational but soon for business use.
    ...
    For business use, what certification are you getting?
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 10 of 14
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    You have to laugh - people all concerned about dangerous drones in a country with more firearms than people.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,770member
    cnocbui said:
    You have to laugh - people all concerned about dangerous drones in a country with more firearms than people.
    Put them together and then we have a real problem.


  • Reply 12 of 14
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    volcan said:
    cnocbui said:
    You have to laugh - people all concerned about dangerous drones in a country with more firearms than people.
    Put them together and then we have a real problem.


    No, just another straw for the camel.
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 13 of 14
    eep357eep357 Posts: 11member
    ebor said:
    I am utterly against drones being allowed to fly except for a legitimate purpose, by people with a drone "driver's" license and requisite insurance, and most certainly not only for recreational purposes.  It is bewildering to see how this drone madness has been spiralling totally out of control recently.  Unless recreational drones are banned effectively (like in Tokyo, Japan), we definitely will see bad accidents (think drones flying into other aircraft) very shortly.  And just think about your neighbour sending his device to peek right at your pecker through the window when you take a shower.  Good luck with enforcing rules of such behaviour when these things are allowed to buzz about everywhere.   Those things need to go away, and quickly so.
    Obviously all your knowledge on the subject comes from the media. A drone is useful for arial photography, that is, wide angle panoramic type of footage not possible by other means. It is the absolute worst possible platform imaginable to spy or "see ones pecker" if it were even possible. Compared to holding a zoomable camera in ones hand, a selfie stick over the fence or looking through a knot hole (things more likely to happen without you knowing because they can be done without you knowing), using a loud, oscillating, "comparatively" unstable platform while trying to control it's flight, somehow aim an ultra wide angle GoPro to where is captures anything smaller than a house, all while trying to remain incognito whilst using what sounds like a flying lawn mower that can be heard a block away with no mute button... I'd be more concerned with being abducted by aliens or the government quite frankly. Personally I have 7 of them. All registered if applicable. Some are indoor only and wouldn't survive a slight breeze, others are custom built DIY FPV racer and freestyle ones (flips, rolls, defy laws of physics) only a bit larger than your hand. I have no interest in arial photograph and find that to be quite boring personally. These use a small front mounted security type analog CCD camera and send analog video back to a set of VR style goggles. The image quality isn't very good due to need for low latency and light weight while using approved frequency bands, can't tell a small tree from a person at 75ft away, but both are things I would avoid. I never approach anyone while flying, but at the park, dog walkers and such come to me often out of curiosity and when I show them the setup and let them see what I see while flying, none are concerned over privacy and always think it is just about the coolest thing they have ever seen. No auto level or GPS or any of that, full acro only where flips and rolls at 2x per second are normal, but if you take you hands of the controls for even one second, you will crash (into some grass at a park, likely braking your propellers and hurting no one). Rarely, if ever, fly over 40ft off the ground so unless an airplane was already in the process of crash landing, we could never be in the same airspace.
    studiomusic
  • Reply 14 of 14
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    A lot of you are basing your perceptions on no experience or knowledge of drones ( small drones don't count) The small drones do not have any of the technology of the larger drones so yes the smaller drones are more dangerous than the larger drones that contain obstacle avoidance technology, gps and contain 6 props ( with 6 props if one motor dies there is still 5 props to control the drone compare to quadcopters if one motor dies it will fall out of the sky plus 6 props drones are more stable than quads). There is nothing wrong with recreational use of drones as long as its away from the airport and public places { stadiums, buildings downtown, where there is large groups of people) and most definitely away from people's backyard.

    I own three drones and I only use them for recreational but soon for business use. I fly my drones outside the city limits like the deserts and mountains also in city appointed fly zones in city limits. I love nature so i fly my drones out in the desert. So be careful there are good people who use drones for good reasons and with prudent and there is some who don't. Don't take away the rights of prudent users because there are bad users. Find a balance.
    You're rights to total freedom are irrelevant if 5% of users are a menace to society.
    Most people are not criminals
    but there are still much things your not allowed to do without consequences because those people exist, including driving cars without a license.
    They'll regulate it, and if not huge amount of lawsuits will keep things in check.

    Of course, some people will disregard the rules and lose their shirts in court or go to jail; but doesn't mean things shouldn't be regulated.

    Cars were barely regulated in 1900, I'm sure people like you also thought they should not be.
    Planes were barely regulated until the 1930s.
    Even more benign things like noise regulations came about because people hard more and more gadgets/tools to annoy the neighbors.
    We live in a society, in a place like California, a very densely packed society, and thus there is a need for regulations before things degenerates.



    edited April 2016
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