Will the FAA allow Hollywood to use drones?

A drone may be the only thing that can keep up with James Bond in pursuit of a target.

In "Skyfall" a drone captured compelling high-speed aerial footage by performing maneuvers only an unmanned aircraft could do, reports CBS News transportation correspondent Jeff Pegues. Those images made Hollywood take notice, and the company that shot the video -- Flying-Cam -- won an Academy Award this year for science and technical achievement.

Now they are trying to win something that could be an even bigger boost for their business, an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones in the U.S.

The FAA said the practice is illegal due to concerns about keeping airspace safe.

Six other movie and television production companies have also filed petitions with the FAA for exemptions to the agency's strict limits on drone use for commercial purposes.

With their petitions under consideration several of the companies declined to comment.

The movie industry has been using drones with cameras overseas for some time, but Hollywood wants the technology to be a staple of filmmaking here in the U.S.

"Hollywood wants to use drones badly," said Neal Undgerleider who covers science and technology for Fast Company magazine. He said drones are not only cheaper than other filming methods, but they're also safer.

"When they do crash, frankly it causes much less damage than having a helicopter or a crane crash, and they are much more reliable," Ungerleider said.

The FAA has been scrambling to develop rules and standards for drones as the commercial applications for the technology takes off, but regulators have been accused of moving too slow. Recently Jim Williams, the head of the FAA's unmanned aircraft office, signaled a willingness to ease some of the restrictions.

"Potential use is not all about economic benefits and getting the perfect shot for a film. There can be real safety benefits for using [unmanned aircrafts] for certain applications," Williams said last month.

Drones are already being used by law enforcement, firefighters and in rescue operations.

If the FAA approves the exemptions for movies and television, it will mark new heights for drones in the U.S. However, gaining this exemption from the FAA will not be an easy process. It will involve looking at safety related issues, and if an exemption is granted, it won't take weeks -- it will take months.

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