The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is forming an industry advisory panel to draft requirements for a new category of “micro drones.” Essentially, the FAA wants to allow certain drones to be flown “over people who are not directly involved in the operation of the aircraft.”

The Micro UAS ARC will determine which drones are safe to fly over crowds through a performance-based standard. The committee will weigh human injury thresholds, hazard and risk assessment methodologies and acceptable levels of risk for those not involved in the operation.

The committee will outline how manufacturers can meet this safety requirement, which will outline types of materials that won’t harm people in a crash. This could, of course, opening the door for more widespread use of micro drones in crowded places for
commercial purposes.

The Micro UAS ARC will begin its work in March and issue its final report to the FAA on April 1. The UAS registration task force established last October serves as a model for the Micro UAS rulemaking committee. The committee will be co-chaired by Earl Lawrence, Director, FAA UAS Integration Office and Nancy Egan, General Counsel, 3D Robotics.

Q&A (PDF) provides additional details.

Once again a full sprint process – disappointing that the FAA can’t seem to get out in front of this to give people some time to think, especially with lives involved.
A month is not much time to figure out how to make cameras, props, motors and batteries that won’t hurt people if they hit them… foam fuselages I get – sorta – going to have to be very stiff. Also pretty startling that the FAA seems like they are once again planning on ignoring the public comment period.


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