The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted CNN approval to operate drones over people in real-world conditions, which means that for the first time, drones will be allowed to fly over wide ranges of urban and suburban environments. CNN requested a Part 107 waiver, which was granted by the FAA, which will allow it to fly drones up to an altitude of 150 feet above ground level.

When applying for the wavier, CNN developed a “Reasonableness Approach” and concentrated on the ability to fly the drones safely. The FAA then evaluated factors such as the operator’s history of safe operations, internal company safety procedures, and design features of the system that increase safety.

Prior to this approval, the process to obtain a waiver from the FAA to fly over people seemed extraordinarily difficult, as just seven of the 1,317 Part 107 approved waivers allowed for this. However, CNN’s victory may lead to other approvals in the future, if they are reasonable and similar in nature to CNN’s request.