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New Drone Rules Expected to Generate Billions for U.S.

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The long-awaited new rules allowing commercial use of drones is now in effect and could generate billions for the U.S. economy.

In many lines of work they are used as the new tools of the trade.

Drone use is rising and so is the controversy surrounding them, leading to new FAA regulations, specifically for the use of smaller commercial drones.

"These aircraft truly have the potential to transform the way we fly," said Anthony Foxx, U.S. Transportation Secretary.

Over the years, drones have been in spotlight for close calls at the White House and other air craft.

On Monday the FAA announced a number of rules now in effect for commercial drone pilots including: keeping drones in sight, at a speed limit of no more than 100 mph, flying no higher than 400 feet and passing a written test.

And as with some rules, there are some exceptions--in this case for drone operators who want to fly at night.

Exemptions are only granted if companies can prove they can operate safely.

Maryland-based drone photography pioneers "Elevated Element" tell WJZ the rules will open up commercial drone use to the masses.

"It's going to allow for the first time people who did not have the ability or the desire to go out and get a manned aircraft pilots license to get their own drone pilot's license," said Terry Kilby, with Elevated Element.

The FAA estimates because of these new rules there will be more than 600,000 commercial drones operating in the U.S within a year.

Generating billions of dollars and thousands of jobs down the road.

Since the rules went into effect more than 76 businesses have opted for exemptions and more than 3,000 have registered for testing. Those flying smaller drones for fun don't need register but still need to abide by the same rules.

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