FAA panel recommends standards for drone flights over people

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Federal Aviation Administration advisory panel on Wednesday recommended that regulators set new rules allowing drones to fly over members of the public if the aircraft meet new standards to minimize the danger of physical injuries from collisions.

A report issued by the 27-member panel, which included representatives from the drone, aviation and technology industries, recommended that the FAA limit the risk of serious injury to less than 1 percent but allow drone makers to determine whether their products meet the standard.

An FAA official said the agency will consider the panel's recommendations as it crafts new regulations that could eventually allow commercial drone flights over people, an option that is vital to plans for package delivery services being pursued by online commerce companies Amazon.com and Alphabet Inc's Google.

Commercial drone flights are largely banned in the United States. But the FAA is expected to issue final regulations later this year that would allow limited commercial drone operations. The first proposed rules allowing flights over people would emerge much later, said the FAA official, who declined to provide a timeline.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)