Just a few months ago, the FAA was only allowing a dozen or so companies to fly drones in the U.S. Now those numbers have swelled to more than 500.
The Verge has partnered with the Center for Study of the Drone at Bard College to collect data on every company receiving special exemptions from the FAA. In a database, it breaks down that list by state. In Washington, 13 have permission, including Amazon, which has been the most vocal in getting its operations off the ground to help deliver packages through a service it calls Prime Air.
But what other entities are interested in unmanned aircraft? Across the U.S., exemptions have been handed out to farmers, railroads, filmmakers, real estate agents, security services, and medical facilities. Recall for now that drones must have a human pilot and for the plane to stay within the operator’s line of site, but Amazon and others are continuing to push for more flexible rules.
Here are the 13 companies in Washington State that have received an FAA exemption and a brief description of what they are planning to do:
- Advanced Aviation Solutions, precision agriculture.
- Amazon.com, outdoor testing research and development for Prime Air.
- Barnett Associates Real Estate Team, Aerial photography and video for advertising real estate and homes.
- BNL Technical Services, Aerial imaging for surveying and monitoring. Conservation, government contracts.
- Daniel W. Achatz, Aerial photograph for homeowners and real estate brokers in the Seattle area.
- Helicam Helicopters, Aerial photography and videography for Washington companies.
- High Flight Photo, Aerial videography and cinematography to enhance academic community awareness and to augment real estate listing videos.
- Notus Access Group, Aerial inspections of wind turbine blades and towers.
- Property Drone Consortium, Research and development for the insurance and construction industries.
- Raecon, Aerial inspections of industrial assets and power structures.
- RKGmedia, Aerial images for commercial use.
- Sky-Forge Robotics, Aerial imaging for safety, monitoring, training and remote sensing.
- Slugwear, dba LikeonaTree, Aerial photography.