Technology

The good news and the bad news about drones

FAA approves 8 more exemptions, backlog of requests grows to 342

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The good news: Federal regulators have granted eight more exemptions to commercial drone operators, bringing the total number of requests granted to 24. The bad news: The Federal Aviation Administration continues to work its way through a backlog of 342 requests for exemptions from companies and individuals, and it could be 2017 before the FAA finalizes rules that would allow commercial drones to be "integrated" into U.S. airspace, rather than "accommodated" on a case-by-case basis. The FAA said the exemptions granted this week, to companies involved in aerial surveys and film and television production, "do not need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness because they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security." Real estate brokers and agents are enthusiastic about the potential for small drones to dramatically lower the cost of producing aerial imagery of homes they are marketing. But last summer, the FAA warned real estate agents who fly thei...