New FAA Drone Regulations Could Spell Bad News for Movie Studios, Amazon

By February 17, 2015

Here at GeekNation, we’ve talked a bit about the new fascination that some businesses are having with unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly referred to as “drones.” From the MPAA lobbying the Federal Aviation Administration to allow movie studios to use them to try and get better camera angles to Amazon proposing them for a new kind of delivery service for their products, it seemed like drones had the potential to become a new, regular part of life as time would go on. Now, though, that may not be the case.

According to a new draft of rules proposed by the FAA to govern the use of drones, the troubling one particularly as it pertains to Amazon’s delivery plans is the rule that states that “the unmanned aircraft must remain within visual line of sight of the operator or visual observer.” That would seem to preclude the possibility of sending a drone the potentially long distances to deliver purchased items from an Amazon warehouse, which may effectively end the development of the delivery service that the online retailer announced that they wanted to develop back in December of 2013.

Last September, when it was reported that movie studios wanted to use drones in movie productions, that was also before the new draft of rules. One of those new rules, particularly the one that states that “small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons not directly involved in the operation,” possibly precluding the possibilities of using the devices to get wider angle shots over a group of actors or extras. Additionally, the other major rule in the draft that could spell trouble for some movie productions is one that would limit the operation of drones only during daylight hours.

Other proposed regulations, including limitations on maximum speed and altitude, may also put the kibosh on some other applications that companies may have wanted to apply to the use of the drones. It seems only natural that these devices, when adapted from military technology, would receive a high level of scrutiny when adapted for the civilian private sector. Still, we’ll have to see if these companies state their plans to either continue or abandon their former plans to use drones, or whether or not they feel they can adapt to these new regulations should they become rigid rules.

Either way, it may be awhile before we see drone camera shots, or a fleet of them delivering goods from Amazon. Oh, well. To see the full draft of proposed rules, check out the FAA’s full overview of the proposal.

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation,, The Huffington Post, and He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.
  • Lucas S

    How dare the US government of all entities think they can put a stop on the way the public use drones for harmless reasons, where overseas and domestically they have actually Killed at least 2,500 people with unmanned drones, 500+ of those people being civilians too.. How were their drones still in the line of sight when they are 1,000’s of miles away in the middle east blowing stuff up.. Obviously there will have to be certain regulations implemented on drone usage, but i can see right through their hypocrisy in this case.

  • USAjoe

    I can’t imagine how the amazon thing would work. They would have to have tens of thousands of drones flying all over the world at once, seems a bit hectic to me,.. or are they wanting a Massive drone to ship large quantities to different shopping centers. Or I wonder if they were just saying that to be cool.. 😛