Normally, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits flying drones commercially over people in the United States. However, Vantage Robotics' compact 4K-capable camera quadcopter Snap is now the first drone to receive FAA-certification for flights over crowds of people for both emergency and non-emergency purposes.

The Part 107.39 waiver granted to Rutherford County, Tennesee is a first for a county government in the United States. This is due to the drone's comprehensive set of safety features, including protected rotors and a lightweight design that lets the drone break into several smaller and less dangerous pieces in the event of a crash.

Brian Robertson, Chief Information Officer for Rutherford, says in the press release:

'Demands of today’s local governments mean we must function in as many scenarios as possible. The ability to safely and appropriately maneuver our aerial assets over and near event personnel or participants gives our program several new possibilities. Whether for routine coverage of numerous events such as Main Street’s Jazz Fest in May, Uncle Dave Macon Days in July, or during incidents such as the November 6 tornado, the ability to capture the gravity or details of these events from the unique perspective is a major addition to this public service.'

This is a small step towards more drones flying overhead at large events and in crowded areas. More information is available on the Vantage Robotics blog.