Proposals for drones to fly at night and over crowds in US

Drones in the US may soon fly over populated areas and at night, under proposals from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The US government is keen to extend the use of such craft for commercial purposes.

That is in stark contrast to the UK, which plans to make tougher laws.

It follows recent disruption at two major UK airports, where suspected drone activity caused aircraft to be grounded.

Both Google-parent Alphabet and Amazon are considering drone delivery services, while Californian start-up Zipline, which currently operates commercial drones in Rwanda, is also looking into the possibility of using unmanned aerial vehicles for rural healthcare services in the US.

US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who is considering the FAA proposals, said she was "keenly aware" of safety issues.

In a speech in Washington, she said that three public-private partnerships had launched in Nevada, Virginia and North Dakota to test air-traffic management concepts for unmanned aircraft.