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US Moves to Allow More Drone Use

This undated handout photo released by Amazon on December 1, 2013 shows a flying "octocopter" mini-drone that would be used to fly small packages to consumers.
The U.S. government has taken a step toward opening the skies for commercial drone use.

Officials on Monday announced six sites where unmanned aircraft can be tested for a variety of purposes, including for use by businesses, researchers and farmers.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration already has approved a limited use of drones in the country, including for law enforcement, military operations and atmospheric research.

Monday's decision allows companies and other groups a place to test broader uses of drones. The FAA says it is working on developing operational guidelines for widespread commercial drone use in the future.

Market groups say the introduction of drones could lead to 100,000 new jobs during the first decade, and billions of dollars of growth for the U.S. economy. However, the proposed use of commercial drones also has sparked privacy concerns from civil liberties groups.

The six new test sites for drones are in the states of Alaska, New York, North Dakota, Texas, North Carolina and Virginia.