Yamaha earns crop-spraying UAV exemption; FAA offers drone safety app

Yamaha earns crop-spraying UAV exemption; FAA offers drone safety app

Newest exemption from FAA allows Yamaha to operate crop-spraying UAV; FAA releases new app to help UAV operators fly safely

The FAA has approved a section 333 exemption for Yamaha to operate UAVs for commercial use, this time a vehicle that is large enough for crop-spraying applications.

Related: Ready To Fly a UAV Drone Over Your Fields?

Yamaha's RMAX is the largest platform granted permission to operate in the U.S., the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International said Wednesday.

According to AUVSI, the RMAX has been in use for 20 years in Japan, Australia and South Korea.

Newest exemption from FAA allows Yamaha to operate crop-spraying UAV (FAA file photo)

"This latest exemption continues to highlight the tremendous potential UAS have in agriculture, helping farmers to more safely, effectively and efficiently manage their crops and improve yields," said Brian Wynne, president & CEO of AUVSI.

"By granting this exemption, the FAA is taking an important step forward to helping more industries in the U.S. realize the benefits UAS technology has to offer," Wynne said.

A report from AUVSI found that precision agriculture will make up 80% of the domestic UAS market, which is projected to create more than 100,000 jobs and $82 billion in economic impact in the first decade after FAA integration is complete.

Lighter side: Kansas farmer makes 'cow art,' captures video with UAV

During the same period, the UAS industry could create more than 18,000 jobs and approximately $14.4 billion in economic impact in California alone.

Other UAV commercial exemptions have been approved by FAA for surveying, construction site monitoring, and the latest use approved last week for Archer Daniels Midland, crop surveying.

FAA releases plans for B4UFLY mobile application for UAS operators

FAA releases new app to help UAV operators fly safely (FAA screenshot)

Also this week, the FAA released plans for a B4UFLY mobile application for UAS operators. Features of the app will include:

• A clear "status" indicator that immediately informs the operator about their current or planned location.
• Information on the parameters that drive the status indicator
• A "Planner Mode" for future flights in different locations
• Informative, interactive maps with filtering options
• Contact information for nearby airports
• Links to other FAA UAS resources and regulatory information.

AUVSI also commented on the app's release, noting that it will help all UAV users operate the technology safely and responsibly.

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"This important tool will improve the safety of our airspace as the FAA works to finalize rules that will allow for broader commercial use of UAS technology in the U.S.," Wynne said. "We look forward to working with the FAA as it develops this app and encourage all operators to download and use it each and every time they fly."

In December, AUVSI and the Academy of Model Aeronautics launched the Know Before You Fly campaign. The FAA also joined as a partner.

The campaign is educating consumers and business users about the safe and responsible operation of UAS, including who can currently fly, where they can fly and for what purposes.

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