I am looking into a business idea that requires glider sized semi-automatic drones but I am very naive when it comes to the regulations and rigour of the aviation and airline industry, so I am hoping I can find some help here. As I understand it, introduction of a new aircraft into the market requires testing all components of the aircraft extensively and after a few test runs, if it is considered safe, it's given a type certificate. This process can take anywhere from 5 to 9 years. However, I am wondering if it is possible to make it cheaper or faster if only modifications are made to an already type certified aircraft.
Assume I got my hands on a glider and manage to add a small gasoline\jet-A1 motor to it (or maybe directly purchase one with a motor), and modify it so that it can be operated remotely with minimal guidance. How likely is it that such an experimental aircraft is going to be approved?
When I say semi-automatic or with minimal guidance, I mean that the aircraft can fly by itself given a flight path (similar to an auto-pilot) and human assistance is needed only when landing - since there needs to be constant communication between the control tower and the pilot- or if the air traffic control requires the pilot to alter the flight path for some reason. The remote pilot would ideally be overseeing around 5-10 of these drones at the same time. Is such a modification to a glider possible given the current laws and regulations?
These gliders would be flying to small airport rather than the ones like newark-liberty so they would not cause to much trouble to commerial air traffic. Finally, what is the procedure, cost, and time needed to use such a modified aircraft for commercial applications?
Edit: This question has been closed for being too broad,although I believe it is not. In essence, I am asking for what the procedure is to bring an experimental aircraft to market, and how likely it is. These two questions can be answered in a single answer. If the community still finds this too broad, please suggest changes so I can narrow it down.