22/06/2016. Existing Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) rules had meant commercial operators needed a pilot's licence in order to fly even small drones - a stipulation industry advocates said was unnecessarily restrictive. In addition to the licence, commercial drone operators had to apply to the FAA on a case-by-case basis to gain permission. To date, only 5,300 commercial applicants were successful in gaining permission from the FAA, a tiny fraction of drones owned in the US. Critics of the old system said the process was too cumbersome and expensive. From August, commercial drone operators will be able to fly by meeting much simpler criteria.

"We are part of a new era in aviation, and the potential for unmanned aircraft will make it safer and easier to do certain jobs, gather information, and deploy disaster relief," said US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx.

More info: Drone industry delight at new US rules