The Federal Aviation Administration is considering lifting a nationwide ban on using drones for commercial purposes—so long as the purpose is to make movie magic.
Seven companies represented by the Motion Picture Association of America have asked for permission to shoot film and TV productions using unmanned aerial vehicles. The FAA said Monday that it would consider exemptions on a case-by-case basis, acknowledging "there could be tangible economic benefits as the agency begins to address the demand."
A growing list of companies have requested permission to fly drones over farmland, power lines, pipelines and oil and gas flare stacks, among other commercial uses. The FAA says the firms must prove that exemptions to the rules will not pose a hazard to public safety.
Congress ordered the agency to set a framework allowing for commercial use of drones by 2015. The FAA will test drones at six sites.