The FAA is approving an average of 300 commercial drone certifications a day

Ehang GhostDrone 2.0
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Nearly 23,000 people in the U.S. are now certified to operate a drone commercially — and the number of registered drones for both consumer and commercial applications totals around 550,000. While the commercial pilot certification standards didn’t begin until the end of the summer, the number of drone registrations for both business and hobby purposes has more than tripled since January.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently shared data showing an average of 300 commercial certifications have been issued each weekday since the new regulations took effect on Aug. 31, totaling 22,959 commercial drone pilots as of Dec. 5. The new regulations require commercial drone operators using a quadcopter over 0.55 pounds to pass a test at a local testing center before taking flight. Before that, commercial drone users were required to have a full pilot’s license.

The new regulations — and the which test runs about $150 to take — also added a few safety nets, prohibiting flight over crowds as well as flight where the operator cannot see the drone, though pilots can apply for waivers. The regulations apply to anyone using a drone professionally, whether that’s for a photography business or to inspect industrial sites.

While hobbyists using drones don’t need to pass that same test, those handling drones over a half pound still need to register their aircraft. As of September, the FAA had registered over 550,000 drones. That’s more than three times the number of registered drones from the start of the year.

While 23,000 or so commercial licenses were issued, the FAA says about 28,000 people submitted applications. According to the FAA, the test is designed to measure basics, such as whether the pilot knows how to read aeronautical charts to recognize prohibited airspace. While registering a drone can be done online, the commercial testing has to take place at one of the 689 FAA-approved locations throughout the U.S.

Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.
Emerging Tech

Meet Wiliot, a battery-less Bluetooth chip that pulls power from thin air

A tiny chip from a semiconductor company called Wiliot could harvest energy out of thin air, the company claims. No battery needed. The paper-thin device pulls power from ambient radio frequencies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cell signals.