The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given permission to four companies now able to operate drones for commercial purposes, granting five new exemptions. Specifically, UAS, Woolpert, Clayco, and VDOS Global will fly drones to help conduct oil rig flare stack inspections, aerial surveying, and monitoring construction sites. All flying drones must be within visual sight of the operator and weigh less than 55 pounds, according to the FAA.
"Unmanned aircraft offer a tremendous opportunity to spur innovation and economic activity by enabling many businesses to develop better products and services for their customers and the American public," said Anthony Foxx, Transportation Secretary. "We want to foster commercial uses of this exciting technology while taking a responsible approach to the safety of America's airspace."
The FAA granted seven exemption waivers to movie studios earlier in 2014, and has received 167 requests.
Lawmakers want the US government to accelerate drone regulation - for personal and commercial uses - as more drones take to the skies across the country.