The easier FAA Section 333 process and an overall sense that the US commercial drone regulatory process is heading in the right direction is leading to a boom in applications and approvals. Excerpt from a good Verge article:
The US is finally catching up to Europe and Canada.
Over the last two years, the lack of a legal framework for commercial drone flight in the US has slowed the growth of the industry domestically. Despite creating some of the world's most advanced drone technology, the US was lagging behind other advanced nations in putting that innovation to work. "Getting an FAA exemption was pretty complicated, and hence you mostly had just larger companies, military contractors, and big energy firms spending the effort to obtain them," says Bilal Zuberi, a venture capitalist with investments in the drone industry. "At one point having an exemption was thought of as a real competitive advantage. That's no longer the case. It’s now just a basic, painful, bureaucratic process of standing in line to get your permission."
In the six weeks since we started working on this project, the number of drone exemptions processed by the FAA has nearly doubled. "Over the last 12 months, one of the things I have noticed is major corporations have decided the existential risk of drones is gone," says Zuberi. "Now most big companies have tasked somebody to figure out their "drone" strategy. Previously there was a lot more action happening overseas. Thankfully, that is starting to change."