Will the Government Test Drones in Your State?

The Federal Aviation Adminstration
(FAA) announced that Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas,
and Virginia will serve as test sites for drone planes, and some
sites will be operational within 180 days. While we have good reason
to be wary of the government’s military and surveillance drones
clouding our skies, there’s no need to
these particular drones out of the sky. The FAA tests
will focus not on building better bombs, but better commerce.

Twenty-five states applied to be drone testing locations, likely
enticed by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems
International’s (AUVSI) study that speculates within the “first
three years of integration more than 70,000 jobs will be created in
the United States with an economic impact of more than $13.6

How did the agency make their pick of those six states? The
Associated Press (AP) states that “the designation as a test site
doesn’t come with a financial award from the government,” and


In choosing Alaska, the FAA cited a diverse set of test site
locations in seven climatic zones. New York’s site at Griffiss
International Airport will look into integrating drones into the
congested northeast airspace. And Nevada offered proximity to
military aircraft from several bases, [FAA Administrator Michael]
Huerta said.

The extent that lobbying influenced the selection of the sites
was unclear.


The testing will determine whether drones can detect and avoid
aircraft and other obstacles, and if they can operate safety when
contact is lost with operators.

In 2012, Congress gave the agency three years to
“civil unmanned aircraft systems into international
airspace.” Currently, the vast majority of drones flying over
American skies are government operated, though the FAA has begun to
permit commercial use on “a case-by-case basis,” according
to CNN.

The Washington Times
that bureaucratic sluggishness has already set plans for
widespread private use “more than a year behind schedule” and
further delays “could put the brakes on the drone revolution and
the economic benefits it would bring.” Brendan Schulman, who works
as special counsel within the drone industry told the

What we’ve experienced the past several years is a lot of
regulatory delay. In the meantime, other countries have moved ahead
with permitting and embracing commercial use. Countries
like Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom
already have a framework for commercial use of drones. That’s where
you’ll see companies going to do the work. That’s where you see
investment dollars going.

Although the FAA assures that
individuals’ privacy will not be compromised by these tests, some
have still not warmed up to the idea of more drones in America’s
skies. “Someday drones will be commonplace in U.S. skies and,
before that happens, it’s imperative that Congress enact strong,
nationwide privacy rules,” ACLU attorney Catherine Crump told the

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/31/will-the-government-test-drones-in-your

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