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The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies. Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia will host the research sites, the agency said.
Drones have been mainly used by the military, but governments, businesses, farmers and others are making plans to join the market. Many universities are starting or expanding drone programs. "These test sites will give us valuable information about how best to ensure the safe introduction of this advanced technology into our nation's skies," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.
The FAA said when selecting the sites it considered geography, climate, location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, aviation experience and risk. The FAA does not allow commercial use of drones, but it is working to develop operational guidelines by the end of 2015, although officials concede the project may take longer than expected.
The FAA projects some 7,500 commercial drones could be aloft within five years of getting widespread access to American airspace.
Representatives from winning states were jubilant about the FAA announcement. "This is wonderful news for Nevada that creates a huge opportunity for our economy," said U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada.
Giving drones greater access to U.S. skies moves the nation closer to "a surveillance society in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded and scrutinized by the authorities," the American Civil Liberties Union declared in a report last December.
Now I have to look up as well as around me when I take a leak outside. I suppose they will be taking pictures and sending people tickets for peeing in the woods now.
Why is a story about the FAA allowing the testing of civilian drones full of pictures of military drones. Military drones already have access to our airspace. This is testing for companies and private owners.
I don't understand how anyone can think this is a good thing to have drones flying around. So what happens if one crashes into your house after running into a crow flying around on garbage day. I'm sure you would never get a settlement if one killed your kid when it crashed, after all they are there for "the good of the people". Other people, not you or me.
These things are awfully expensive. Can't they find a better thing to do with the taxpayers money? If China made them and sold them directly to the government, they would probably be fifteen percent of what they are paying.