"Unmanned aircraft systems ('UAS' or 'drones') have been used in the United States for nearly a century. In recent years, the number of UAS has grown dramatically due to rapid advances in technology and resulting reductions in price. The FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] estimates that the number of model 'small' UAS, those weighing 55 pounds or less, may double from 1.1 million to more than 2.4 million between 2017 and 2022. Similarly, the FAA estimates the number of commercial UAS may grow from 110,604 in 2017 to more than 700,000 by 2022. Interest in UAS operations continues to expand as the number of potential applications grows and technology improves. The economic potential of drones is valued in the billions of dollars across various sectors including agriculture, construction, defense, energy, entertainment, and transportation. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates all civil aircraft, including UAS. Applicable laws include the 'FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012' (P.L. 112-95) and the 'FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016' (P.L. 114-190). Together, these laws comprise a substantial part of statutory framework applicable to the operation of UAS. In addition, the FAA promulgated 14 C.F.R. Part 107 in 2016, which applies to the operation of small UAS. Part 107 includes a waiver process to enable more advanced UAS operations. Finally, the House passed 'FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018' (H.R. 4) includes several provisions intended to further advance the safe integration and operation of UAS."
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