The Motion Picture Association of America has facilitated the requests of seven different "aerial photo and video production companies" to be granted exemptions from the Federal Aviation Administration so that they can finally lawfully operate their unmanned aircraft systems.
In other words, the FAA may allow filmmakers to shoot movies with drones.
The film and television industry has been pushing this for some time, but this constitutes the first set of formal requests, and the first time that the FAA has explicitly said that they are considering it.
"If the exemption requests are granted, there could be tangible economic benefits as the agency begins to address the demand for commercial UAS operations. However, all the associated safety issues must be carefully considered to make sure any hazards are appropriately mitigated," said the FAA in a statement.
The companies are petitioning the FAA to grant certain exemptions, for instance ones that regulate general flight rules, pilot certificate requirements, manuals, maintenance and equipment mandates.
Waiving certain FAA regulations would allow filmmaking companies to fly UAS (drones) in "narrowly-defined, controlled, low-risk situations." Filmmakers could employ drones to capture aerial shots, instead of having to settle for a much costlier method for acquiring the shot, like a helicopter.
As drones become more popular, the Federal government is going to face more challenges to their rules banning commercial operation. We've already heard stories of the FAA pretty much putting the kibosh on small businesses and everyday citizens attempting to make things easier with drones. Earlier this year, a brewery had its beer delivery drones grounded by the administration. A couple months later, a flower delivery company made news when its small fleet of drones were forced to park it on terra firma.
And it's not just the little guys–big business is getting into the drone game. Amazon is reportedly working on its 7th and 8th generation drones for its 'Amazon Prime Air' program.
Of course, filmmakers, with the MPAA's backing (and even Amazon) have a much better chance to snag exemptions than Joe Flower Deliverer. The FAA says they are considering exemption requests from three other industries: precision agriculture, power line and pipeline inspection, and oil and gas flare stack inspection.
Image via VidMuze, YouTube