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On Jan. 15, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration issued its final rule amending the agency's 2016 final rule to allow the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, at night and over people under certain conditions without obtaining a waiver. In 2019, ABC submitted comments on the FAA’s proposed rule, welcoming the agency’s efforts to ease certain restrictions on the use of small UAS without compromising the FAA’s valid safety objections.

According to an FAA executive summary of the final rule, the rulemaking establishes four new categories of small UAS for routine operations over people and also allows for routine operations over moving vehicles. Additionally, the final rule allows for drone operations at night under certain conditions, such as the requirement for remote pilots to complete online recurrent training which will include night subject areas. The online recurrent training will be offered free of charge to remote pilots.

The use of this technology has had an immensely positive impact on our economy that will continue to grow in the future.

In addition to the final rule on drone operations, the FAA issued a final rule requiring the remote identification of drones, which includes three ways to comply with operational requirements:

  • Operate a standard Remote ID drone that broadcasts identification and location information of the drone and control station;
  • Operate a drone with a Remote ID broadcast module (may be a separate device attached to the drone), which broadcasts identification, location and take-off information; or
  • Operate a drone without Remote ID but at specific FAA-recognized identification areas.

Both final rules will go into effect on March 16, 2021. More information can be found on the FAA website.