The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released the first operational rules for routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones.

Named Part 107, the new rule will be effective in late August and encourages the full integration of UAS into the nation’s airspace.

Apart from providing safety regulations for unmanned aircraft drones weighing less than 55p and conducting non-hobbyist operations, the new rules work to control new innovations safely, to stimulate job growth, advance critical scientific research, and save lives.

It is estimated that the regulation could generate over $82bn for the US economy and create more than 100,000 new jobs over the next ten years.

"The regulation includes height and speed restrictions and prohibits flights over people not directly participating in UAS operation."

FAA’s administrator Michael Huerta said: "With this new rule, we are taking a careful and deliberate approach, which balances the need to deploy this new technology with the FAA’s mission to protect public safety."

Designed to reduce risk to other aircraft, people, and property, the new regulations require pilots to keep an unmanned aircraft within visual line of sight. Operations are allowed during daylight, or at night if the drone has anti-collision lights.

The regulation also mentions height and speed restrictions, as well as other limits, including prohibiting flights over people who are not directly participating in the UAS operation.

The new rules also define an age restriction for drone control of 16 years, as well as the requirement of a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating or direct supervision by someone with a certificate. Drone operators have to ensure the safety of their own vehicles before flying.

However, FAA is not urging small UAS to comply with existing agency airworthiness standards or aircraft certification. In addition, the new rules do not cover privacy issues, but the FAA will address considerations in this area.

Under a privacy education campaign, the agency will provide all drone users with recommended privacy guidelines as part of the UAS registration process and will educate all commercial drone pilots on privacy during their certification process.

FAA noted that Part 107 will not apply to model aircraft and the operators are mandated to continue to satisfy all the criteria specified in section 336 of Public Law.