Georgia's drone industry is expected to grow with the creation of a new category of rules for commercial use of small drones, according to the state Center of Innovation for Aerospace.
The Federal Aviation Administration this week finalized rules to allow commercial drone operators to fly without going through a special approval process. That's a shift from the current system that requires commercial drone operators to apply for a federal waiver.
The new rules are expected to make it easier for everyone from real estate agents to filmmakers to use unmanned aircraft systems -- also known as UAS or drones -- for their work. Commercial users would need to get a drone pilot certification by passing a knowledge test at an FAA-approved testing center and would need to follow other safety requirements.
"The new small UAS rule provides welcome clarification on the guidelines for operating small UAS and will allow new opportunities for businesses to use this technology," said Georgia Center of Innovation for Aerospace director Amy Hudnall in written statement.
Georgia has 106 companies with exemptions to operate drones for commercial use.
Hudnall added that "with the new rule I expect the number of businesses offering UAS related services to rise. I also expect that our established aviation schools, such as Middle Georgia State University’s School of Aviation, and other organizations will move quickly to add the necessary training classes and testing for this new certificate."
The Georgia Center of Innovation for Aerospace has an Unmanned Aerial Systems working group to grow the drone industry in the state.