Senators are pushing a bill that would legalize commercial drones

Temporary regulations would provide guidelines for companies to use drones commercially while awaiting finalized FAA rules.Two U.S. senators on Tuesday introduced legislation to establish a set of temporary rules regulating commercial drone use. The aim of the bill is to allow companies to fly commercial drones—if in only a limited capacity—while awaiting a polished set of rules from the FAA, which is expected sometime in the next few years.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. are pushing the Commercial UAS Modernization Act as a means to foster innovation in the nascent commercial drone industry, while also allowing U.S. companies to test drones in the same way international firms are currently doing overseas.

“There is so much potential that can be unlocked if we lay the proper framework to support innovation in unmanned aircraft systems,” Sen. Booker said in a statement. “But right now, the U.S. is falling behind other countries because we lack rules for the safe operation of commercial [unmanned aircraft systems] technology. The Commercial UAS Modernization Act sets up clear and immediate rules of the road, helping to lay a foundation that will allow us to make cutting-edge progress in a rapidly emerging field.”

Booker and Hoeven have both been outspoken supporters for integrating commercial drone technology into the national airspace sooner rather than later. The bipartisan bill, if passed, could go a long way to not only opening up the skies for commercial drone applications, but also creating the legal headroom needed to allow for drone technology development.

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