During a Bay Area demo broadcast via Periscope, Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo and other executives showed how they plan to use mini-planes launched with compressed air to deliver blood and medical supplies in Rwanda starting in July.
The railroad also has a compelling business case. The Latitude HQ-40 drone that Graetz supervises has a six-foot wingspan and is equipped with cameras that when paired with special software can potentially detect track anomalies more quickly, possibly preventing derailments. The flights, from just outside of Playas, New Mexico, lay the groundwork for drone inspections of other fixed infrastructure, such as pipelines and power lines.
In aviation, if you receive ANY form of compensation for flying, that flight falls into the category of a commercial operation. That's right, even if that compensation is only gas money, or a cold beverage.
It is part of the FAA's mandate to protect the public, and this is one of the ways that they can do that. When the regulations were written, they were protecting people IN the airplanes. It's no secret that regulating Drones is and will continue to be difficult within a framework of regulations built for traditional aviation. Hence, Part 107...which is honestly a great step forward.