News / USA

In US, Civilian Use of Drones Awaits Regulations

In US, Civilian Use of Drones Awaits Regulationsi
X
August 27, 2013 4:38 PM
Judging by the number of autonomous vehicles displayed at the recent international exhibition in Washington, unmanned aerial vehicles or drones are here to stay. But their extensive use in the commercial sector is hindered by the slow introduction of rules and regulations. VOA’s George Putic has more.

In US, Civilian Use of Drones Awaits Regulations

TEXT SIZE - +
George Putic
Judging by the number of autonomous vehicles displayed at the recent international exhibition in Washington, unmanned aerial vehicles or drones are here to stay. But their extensive use in the commercial sector is hindered by the slow introduction of rules and regulations. 
 
Drones have many advantages. They are cheaper to purchase, operate and service than piloted aircraft. 
 
They can be sent on dangerous missions without putting a crew in harm's way.  
 
And drones have potential way beyond the military.
 
They could help find hikers lost in the wilderness, monitor crops, manage wildlife, spray vineyards, deliver medicine, explore for oil, monitor power lines, even deliver takeout. 
 
The main obstacle for civilian use of drones in the United States is the lack of regulations. 
 
The Federal Aviation Administration regulates U.S. airspace and allows a restricted use of drones in areas of low air traffic, like Alaska. 
 
Operators must request an Experimental Airworthiness Certificate to fly a drone. The FAA said that precludes "carrying people or property for compensation or hire, but allows operations for research and development, flight and sales demonstrations and crew training.” 
 
That's what AeroVironment plans to do with its popular drone called the Puma, explained David Heidel, the company's marketing manager.
 
“As announced a couple of weeks ago we will seek the restricted category classification from the FAA that allows us to fly the Puma in the Arctic region, and there we would target oil spill monitoring, wildlife monitoring, coastal monitoring."
 
The exhibit at Washington’s Convention Center was full of unmanned airplanes and helicopters, but also remote-controlled and autonomous ground-based and underwater craft. 
 
Manufacturers point out that their vehicles, designed for the military, can be converted for civilian use.
 
“Aerial view, law enforcement, military, border patrol, fire departments. We cater to military now, and border patrol, as well as fire departments, law enforcement," Jason Rittenhour, an engineer with Applied Research Associates said. "There is a huge interest for law enforcement, especially SWAT teams, being able to get the aerial view that they want.”
 
But the process for allowing more commercial use of drones is advancing more slowly than the technology because the FAA hasn't developed policies to protect the privacy of Americans. 
 
Congress may consider a bill to stop the process until the FAA completes a report on the potential privacy issues related to drones.
 
In the meantime, manufacturers will continue to depend on military and law enforcement purchases.
 

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid