The FAA said the document, the first of a planned series of yearly reports, looks at current policies and regulations governing the use of UAS in civilian airspace and the new regulations, procedures and technologies needed in the future.
"Government and industry face significant challenges as unmanned aircraft move into the aviation mainstream," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. "This road map is an important step forward that will help stakeholders understand the operational goals and safety issues we need to consider when planning for the future of our airspace."
The FAA -- an arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation -- said it will select six test sites to begin work on safely integrating unmanned aerial vehicles into civilian airspace during the next several years, which will include setting aircraft certification and navigation requirements.
The Aerospace Industries Association said Thursday it welcomes the document and the effort it represents.
"The American aerospace industry is eager to support the integration into our domestic airspace of UAS systems that will help save and improve lives in a variety of ways," said AIA President and Chief Executive Officer Marion C. Blakey. "We're very pleased that through this road map and other actions, FAA is making significant progress toward meeting the congressional mandate of UAS domestic integration by 2015.
"This is a major step forward for realizing the full promise of aviation's next great frontier."
The FAA currently allows limited use of unmanned aerial systems in national airspace on a case-by-case basis.