U.S. Gov Authorizes Commercial Use of Aerial Drones Within U.S.
31 December 2013
Brandy D. Anderson
In a move which the ACLU marks as worrisome, the US has authorized private parties to use aerial drones within the United States. On Monday, 30 December, the FAA chose six sites for unmanned aircraft research: Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas, and Virgina.
The University of Alaska is scheduled to test monitoring and navigation with an emphasis on safety standards for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations. The State of Nevada is slated to concentrate on operation standards and certification requirements. New York’s Griffiss International Airport will focus on test and evaluation processes with an emphasis on researching the complexities of integrating the UAS into the congested, northeast airspace. The North Dakota Department of Commerce will research airworthiness testing and reliability while also incorporating human factors into their research. Texas A&M University will develop safety requirements with protocols and procedures for the UAS. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University will conduct UAS failure testing and evaluate operational and technical risks (FAA).
According to the FAA “Each test site operator will manage the test site in a way that will give access to parties interested in using the site. The FAA’s role is to ensure each operator sets up a safe testing environment and to provide oversight that guarantees each site operates under strict safety standards.”
Although the FAA has said there will be procedures in place to protect the privacy of citizens, ACLU staff attorney Catherine Crump observes that “It’s good the FAA says protecting privacy at drone test sites is vital but requiring privacy policies doesn’t guarantee adequate protections”.
Image: Rauf Guliyev/DroidAir