Americans could see a lot more drones flying around their communities as the result of a Trump administration test program to increase government and commercial use of the unmanned aircraft.
President Donald Trump gave the go-ahead today, signing a directive intended to increase the number and complexity of drone flights.
The presidential memo would allow exemptions from current safety rules so communities could move ahead with testing of drone operations.
States, communities and tribes selected to participate would devise their own trial programs in partnership with government and industry drone users.
The administration anticipates approving at least five applications, but there is no limit on the number of communities that can join.
The Federal Aviation Administration would review each program. The agency would grant waivers, if necessary, to rules that now restrict drone operations.
Examples include prohibitions on flights over people, nighttime flights and flights beyond the line of sight of the drone operator.
Among the things that could be tested are package deliveries; the reliability and security of data links between pilot and aircraft; and technology to prevent collisions between drones and other aircraft and to detect and counter drones flying in restricted areas.