The FAA outlines new rules for drones and their operators

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal officials say they will allow operators to fly small drones on people and at night, potentially boosting commercial use of machines.

Most drones will need to be equipped so that they can be remotely identified by law enforcement officers.

The final rules announced Monday by the Federal Aviation Administration “bring us closer to the day when we will see drone operations like the delivery of regular packages,” said FAA Administrator Stephen Dixon.

With more than 1.7 million drones under registration, according to the Department of Transportation, is the fastest growing segment of all transportation.

However, the widespread commercial use of machines has evolved much more slowly than many advocates expect. Jeff Bezos, founder of, once predicted that his company would use drones to deliver goods to customers’ homes in five years, but that forecast has been off for two years..

There have been many tests and limited uses. The United Parcel Service said last year that it had been allowed to operate a fleet of drones nationwide. And has made hundreds of deliveries to a hospital campus in North Carolina.

Also last year, Google sister company Wing Aviation received FAA approval for commercial drone flights. In a corner of Virginia.

And this past August, Amazon received similar approval from the FAA To deliver packages by drone. The company is still testing the service and has not said when shoppers will see delivery.

For drone proponents swept by the pace of adoption, the regulatory hurdle is the leading complaint. Currently, opera operators who want to fly drones on people or need an apology from the FAA at night.

The new rules require that drones used at night include flashing lights that can be seen from three miles away. Managers will need special training. Small drones flying over people may not have moving parts capable of cutting the skin.

The rules covering people and night flights will take effect in about two months. They finalize the proposed rules issued last year.

All drones that must be registered with the FAA must have devices that transmit their identification, location and control station or are operated in FAA accredited areas. The so-called remote ID was required by Congress at the urging of national security and law enforcement agencies.

Drone manufacturers will have 18 months to start building drones with remote IDs, and operators will have to start using drones with remote IDs a year later.