More than 20 different industries have received commercial unmanned aircraft system exemptions from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), says a new report from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).
In May 2014, the FAA said it would consider granting exemptions for certain low-risk commercial UAS applications under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. Since then, the agency has approved more than 800 petitions out of more than 2,200 requests.
AUVSI analyzed the first 500 exemptions approved by the FAA. Specifically, the report finds as follows:
- The approved exemptions cover more than 20 industries. The most approvals were granted to real estate with 153 references. The agriculture industry received 106 exemptions, and construction received 74.
- Exemptions were approved for operators in 48 states. California received the most with 70 exemptions, followed by Texas with 46 and Florida with 40.
- California companies also manufactured the most platforms, totaling 50. Florida followed with 18. In all, 21 states house manufacturers of platforms approved in the first 500 exemptions.
- More than 80% of the first 500 exemptions were granted to small businesses.
“Businesses across every industry sector have been waiting to use UAS for years and are excited to finally get this technology off the ground,” says Brian Wynne, president and CEO of AUVSI. “From inspecting pipelines and surveying bridges to filming movies and providing farmers with aerial views of their crops, the applications of UAS are virtually limitless and offer a superior way to see what needs to be seen – in less time and at less expense.”