When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced two years ago that his company intended on launching a new delivery service called Amazon Prime Air, many cheered the ambitious idea. That's because Amazon Prime Air promised to do what no company had been able to do yet: deliver products directly to customers' doors using drones.
When Bezos first made his announcement, the climate around the use of commercial drones was shaky at best. Operating in U.S. air space has always been carefully monitored by the FAA and pilots, even those operating drones, need to get special permissions to do so. Few knew at the time whether the FAA would even allow Amazon Prime Air to get off the ground.
Since Bezos announcement, the FAA has been reconsidering the use of commercial drones. Some companies have already been granted "Section 333 exemption" which, as one NBC article explains, allows companies to fly commercial drones while the FAA continues to work out final rules for the devices.
But even companies with Section 333 exemptions are working in a "grey zone" of regulations - technically both breaking the law and abiding by it as well. It's making some business owners nervous because they don't know how far FAA regulations will go in the near future and whether or not their current operations are within the scope of the law.
Though the FAA was supposed to release national drone regulations at the end of last month, the federal agency failed to meet its scheduled deadline. This has left some business owners wondering what the future will hold for commercial drones and whether seeking legal representation now will be necessary.