More than 3,300 potential drone pilots signed up for the first testing slots after the FAA put the rules into effect at the end of August. The agency said it expects the number of licensed drone operators to exceed the number of licensed private pilots (171,000) within a year. Hobbyists and recreational users don't need a license but commercial operators will.

Drones will be limited to 55 pounds and must have anti-collision lights. The devices are not supposed to go any higher than 400 feet, or fly faster than 100 mph or at night. Operators must be at least 16 years of age and pass a written test every two years.

Drones are becoming increasingly common on job sites because they allow inspectors to monitor progress, take photos, and send information back to project managers or designers.

The new rules free companies who want to use small drones from seeking permission from the federal government for any commercial drone project, a process that often took months, The Los Angeles Times reported.

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