On June 21, 2016, the FAA announced its new rules to govern non-hobbyist small UAS ("sUAS" or "drones") operations. Gluttons for punishment can read the entire 624-page FAA document here; others can read a summary of the highlights in this memorandum. The regulatory regime has been described by the FAA as a "very flexible framework" that will "accommodate future innovation in the industry." While only time will tell how flexible the rules prove to be, stakeholders generally agree that the new rules are an important - albeit intermediary - step forward.
The FAA's announcement is welcome news for all types of businesses who have been eager to incorporate drones into their business operations for data collection, photography, videography, inspections, monitoring, or any other viable purpose. Until the new rules become effective in late August, the FAA's current prohibition on commercial sUAS operations remains in effect, except for operators that have obtained a Section 333 Exemption from the FAA.
Read Stephen's full memorandum, linked below, which provides a thorough examination of the new rules. You can also see him explain the new rules to WRAL here.