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    Yamaha RMax unmanned helicopter sprays water over grapevines during a demonstration of its aerial application capabilities at the University of California

    US Federal Aviation Administration Approves Commercial Agriculture Drones

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    FAA has agreed to sanction the use of Yamaha's RMAX Unmanned Aerial System in commercial agriculture.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The US Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has sanctioned the use of Yamaha's RMAX Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) in commercial agriculture.

    "Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. is granted an exemption <…> to the extend necessary to allow the petitioner to operate the RMAX UAS for the purpose of agricultural-related services operations," the FAA's decision issued stated.

    The FAA's framework of regulations released in mid-February outlined safety precautions for UAS, including that they must weigh less than 55 pounds.

    The aviation authority's exemption No. 11448, issued on May 1 and set to expire May 31, 2017, states that the Yamaha drone can weigh as much as 218 pounds at takeoff.

    Additionally, the FAA exemption limits the UAS speeds to 45 miles per hour, their altitudes to 400 feet above ground level and a distance of "at least 500 feet from other people."

    The two-bladed gas-powered RMAX has been used by Japanese farmers in crop spraying since as early as 1987.

    "The FAA has determined that based on Yamaha's safe operating history of the RMAX, and the RMAX design safety features, operations conducted under the requirements of this exemption will not adversely impact safety," the waiver went on to say.

    Drones are used in policing, firefighting, pipeline checks, and in the military.

    According to the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, unmanned aerial vehicles could create an estimated 100,000 jobs and $82 billion in the first decade if the FAA allows commercial drone flights in the United States.

    Large US companies such as Google and Amazon have shown interest in using drones for their services, but regulators are worried about privacy concerns connected with the technology.

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    Tags:
    drones, agriculture, RMAX UAS, Yamaha, US Federal Aviation Administration, United States
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