Of the 711 companies that have received Federal Aviation Administration permission to operate drones for commercial business, 127 are involved in construction, according to an Equipment World analysis of data from the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College and technology publication The Verge.
The FAA, which had approved 12 exemptions to its no-drones-for-commercial-use rule by the beginning of the year, ushered through 622 waivers between April and June, Equipment World noted. Find the full list of companies that have been granted exemptions here.
Until the FAA publishes rules to govern the use of drones for commercial use, it is illegal for companies to fly the unmanned aircrafts without a Section 333 waiver. Those rules could take as long as two years to be finalized.
Contractors who want to use drones to photograph jobs in progress, bolster security or get “eyes” into spots that even a small airplane can’t fit might successfully apply for their own waivers.
The FAA’s bulk approval of exemptions this spring was intentional; Jim Williams, manager of the agency’s UAS Integration Office, said in May that it’s getting easier for applicants to win permission to fly drones before the official rules are published.