Unmanned Aircraft Operations in Domestic Airspace: U.S. Policy Perspectives and the Regulatory Landscape [January 27, 2016] [open pdf - 1MB]
From the Summary: "Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), often referred to as 'drones,' have become commonplace over the past few years. As UAS technology develops rapidly, the United States faces significant challenges in balancing safety requirements, privacy concerns, and economic interests. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA; P.L. 112-95) required the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace and issue regulations governing the operation of small unmanned aircraft used for commercial purposes. FAA has proposed regulations allowing routine operations of small commercial UAS weighing less than 55 pounds, but is still developing the guidelines and standards for federal, state, and local government agencies required by FMRA. Hundreds of thousands of small UAS are already being operated as recreational model aircraft and hobby drones that are permitted under a special rule for model aircraft established by FMRA. In addition, several hundred public agencies and more than 3,000 businesses have been granted approval to operate UAS on a case-by-case basis. Once regulations and guidelines are put in place, large growth in UAS operations is anticipated."
CRS Report for Congress, R44352
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html