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Government Transportation Technology

Feds Announce Test Sites For Drone Aircraft 78

Posted by samzenpus
from the robot-skies dept.
SpaceGhost writes "The Associated Press reports: '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.' The sites will be in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia. They quote Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx saying, '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.' This is a first step to allowing commercial drone use."
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Feds Announce Test Sites For Drone Aircraft

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Because given that they have drones in operation already means they've been tested.

    I can't wait to pick up that can in City 17

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Obummer's coming to drone ya, brah.

    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      My first thought was....

      "PULL"!!!

      • I hope the one in NY is close to the NYC Mayor's office.
      • Not having ever shot a gun in my life or been around those who have I've always wondered why when I see them shooting their clay pigeons or skeet shooting or whatever is they say 'pull' to release the target.

        What is it exactly they're pulling on?

        I mean I'd understand it if the said that when pulling the trigger on the gun but they say 'pull' to release the target - well before the trigger 'pull'.

        Any ideas?

  • Eh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dtmos (447842) * on Monday December 30, 2013 @04:26PM (#45822221)

    I thought we'd been testing them in other nations' skies for a while now -- what more needs to be done?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That was just weapons testing. We still haven't quite hashed out all the ways to spy on civilians yet. Maybe some of those camera can't see through your house yet and need some work. Or maybe they won't be able to record your conversations as easily as expected. Or maybe they won't be able to infect computers with malware in massive quantities from miles above the earth [youtube.com], as speculated by Jake Applebaum.

      These things all need to be hashed out. You know, for your own good.

    • Re:Eh? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Monday December 30, 2013 @06:51PM (#45823541)

      What part of commercial drones do you not understand? It is not about testing drones as much as developing infrastructure and procedures for widespread civilian drone use.

  • by EMG at MU (1194965) on Monday December 30, 2013 @04:33PM (#45822291)
    Does anyone else think that before we allow commercial drone use we should also start thinking about some laws on how drones can be used?

    For example, should it be legal for an advertising company to buzz around my home with a drone based billboard?

    Should Amazon or some other retailer be allowed to surveil me with a drone to compile my shopping habits and then make me offers?

    Should my employer be able to use a drone to monitor if I am interviewing at a competitor?

    We're in a bit of a privacy crisis right now partially due to the fact that online privacy laws were about 10 years behind the technology. Lets try to avoid that with drones.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Regulation kills jobs. The free market will decide the best way to use drones. Job killer.

    • Doesn't have to be a law, FAA regulation stating "Drones flying within X distance of residences cannot do surveillance and must be for delivery only" would suffice.

      • Yes because government regulation has proven to be SO effective everywhere else. The largest fine in the history of everything is still less than a quarter's profits on average. Corporations simply Do. Not. CARE. Pass all the regulations you want, they can AFFORD to break them and simply consider it the cost of business.

        • by Shatrat (855151)

          Regulation is not restricted to fines. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_System_divestiture [wikipedia.org]

          • Right, if they had the balls to do that don't you think they would've done something about the six corporations that control 90% of all american media? Or pretty much ANY of the other abusive and collusive behaviors, like how cellphone companies behave?

            • by icebike (68054)

              What number of corporations would be the "right" number for controlling 90% of american media?
              How do you know these 6 corporations aren't already controlled by the government?
              Have you seen more than one of these 6 corporations take a serious anti government stance on anything?

        • Not a fine, pulling the corporation's FAA license to fly drones if they violate regulations.

          Do you see Delta or United not caring about FAA regulations? Do they simply pay a fine out of their profits and consider that a cost of doing business? No. Because getting their license revoked means they have no business.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Define "surveillance."
        The drones will have to have cameras running in order to navigate, and the corporations are going to want to save the feed.
        Is it surveillance when they film you?
        When they save the film?
        When they have a computer review the film to collect metadata?
        How about when they have a flesh-and-blood human review the film?
        The NSA's standards would be the latter, and my guess is that the Supreme Court will rule the same (eventually, when pressed).

        • Define "surveillance."
          The drones will have to have cameras running in order to navigate, and the corporations are going to want to save the feed.

          They could define surveillance as when they save the feed, as you mentioned.

          I would actually go further and say surveillance is when camera data is transmitted to base and/or saved to onboard storage. That way real-time monitoring is also prevented. Cameras should be for drone self-navigation purposes only.

        • by icebike (68054)

          You don't need cameras to navigate. Hint: GPS
          There should be no discussion as to whether surveillance is what drone users desire here. Image/Video surveillance is the reason for drones in either government or industry.

          Other than Amazon's grandiose schemes, there is just about no reason to put drones in the air except for surveillance. (Be if if people, or forests, or live stock, or pipelines, etc).

          Removing surveillance from a Drone's inventory pretty much makes them useless, both to business or governme

    • I think birdshot's going to be the solution to this one.

      • No, pop-up net. Free drone.

        Or to be more subtle, your own local transmitter to override the remote controller.

        Soon to be a reality show: Drone Dynasty.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Does anyone else think that before we allow commercial drone use we should also start thinking about some laws on how drones can be used?

      No, no one at all has thought of that. Ever. Not the FAA, or even a single citizen or company. Drone manufacturers are going to spend hundreds of billions only to find out later they're outlawed.

      For example, should it be legal for an advertising company to buzz around my home with a drone based billboard?

      Jesus, talk about narcissistic. You really think that YOU are worth a billboard drone? I seriously hope we don't come to the point where drones are THAT affordable.

      Should Amazon or some other retailer be allowed to surveil me with a drone to compile my shopping habits and then make me offers?

      They won't need to. Amazon will use your shopping habits on their site or their many partner sites to compile that information. I highly doubt the

      • Jesus, talk about narcissistic. You really think that YOU are worth a billboard drone? I seriously hope we don't come to the point where drones are THAT affordable.

        You lack foresight. Its not a question of if drones become cheap enough to target individuals, its a question of when.

    • by ljw1004 (764174)

      Does anyone else think that before we allow commercial drone use we should also start thinking about some laws on how drones can be used?

      No. Laws are like code. Don't optimize prematurely. Don't try to build a framework (in code or in laws) until you have several working examples and understand how things work in practice.

    • For example, should it be legal for an advertising company to buzz around my home with a drone based billboard?

      All drone issues are solved if you simply implement the Colorado law allowing people to purchase drone hunting licenses. If a drone is doing something anyone dislikes, it will be removed from the sky legally. That should put a big cap on annoying uses of drones and frankly I'm not sure there would be any left between the people annoyed and those hunting the drones just for the hell of it.

      • by dougmc (70836)

        That law was a joke. At best it would protect you from municipal ordinances against shooting at unmanned aircraft, but would do nothing to prevent state or federal charges, or a civil lawsuit.

        The FAA has a strong interest in keeping people from firing weapons at aircraft, and some city in Colorado isn't going to override that.

    • There will be nobody enforcing the laws. There will be no prosecutions. Any law enacted will be solely for the purposes of a generating a comforting soundbite on the news. So lets not bother.

    • Privacy? What is this ancient concept that you speak of?
    • Who cares, as long as it's legal to shoot them out of the sky [npr.org].
      • by dougmc (70836)

        It's not. Those permits were a joke, possibly literally.

        And even if that city says it's OK because you have a permit, that won't override the state or federal laws that prohibit firing at aircraft or destroying other people's property. (It might override local ordinances against discharging of firearms in city limits, for example, depending on how it was written and what the local laws are, however.)

        • Dunno man, I feel ya and all, but, uhh... Bring by an advertizement by way of drone to my house, and let's roll the dice. I live in a neighborhood that's very twisty; houses close together. If that drone that was sent over was shot down, it'd be impossible to determine who shot it down (I live in Alabama, guns grow on trees), and if the fucking thing(s) fall onto my property, and any damage occurs, I'd be forced to look to the drone-owner to recover the costs associated with repairing my stuff. In any c
          • by dougmc (70836)

            There's a huge difference between "it would be hard to find out who to charge with a crime" and "it's legal".

            And yes, if a object crashes into your house and damages it, the owner or operator is probably liable for the damages. This is not specific to unmanned aircraft -- it applies to manned aircraft and even to things like cars or errant golf balls too.

            In any event, I'm no lawyer, but my advice would be to not fire at aircraft flying above your property, no matter how low they may be, how justified you m

  • I'm guessing that they chose Texas because they want to see how many people turn the test into a skeet shooting contest.
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  • Do they have an open season?

  • PULL!

  • that the Chinese had in mind for their drone tests.

  • Feds Announce Test Sites For Drone Aircraft

    Let's hope none of them are Afghani wedding parties.

  • conspicuously absent from this report is any mention of what is driving the clear push for domestic drones in the first place. Is it "terror" this time? the "war on drugs" or our sterling history of handouts and taxpayer subsidy to the defense department regardless of domestic economic considerations.

    dont be surprised if domestic drone sites, and sales, are being pushed by the same doublespeak politicians who for the entire first term of the democratic presidency have railed against entitlements, welfare p

    • by Anonymous Coward

      When I was in Alaska, I flew with bush pilots delivering things like mail and hay to remote locations in the winter and inaccessible by land. Using drones would be a perfect system for these types of tasks. Why pay a pilot in an expensive plane using hundreds of liters of fuel when the same thing could be done with a small drone with a payload capability of 100kg and a range of 500km. A plane that small would only use a couple liters of fuel and would be on call 24 hours/day.

      A "drone" is nothing more than

      • A pilot has a license and has to be tested and qualify. And he risks losing his livelyhood if he misbehaves with a plane. He risks his life too. These drones have no geometry for mounting a tail identification. And the operator has no license to put in jeopardy. He can even claim that the unit was on autofly at the time of an incident. Or he can claim that someone else was operating or interfering with the operation of the aircraft. Therefore there is no accountability.

    • by ScentCone (795499)

      anything missing here?

      Yes. You, bothering to read TFA. This isn't about eeeevil gubmint drones spying on you. It's about studying how commercial and academic operators (like crop sprayers, people doing aerial photography or using a drone on a film set, university researchers studying wildlife and environment, etc) can be integrated into the highly regulated air space. Read before you rant.

  • sign me up as a drone pilot LOL.
    wonder if ups delivery pays as much!?

  • As a Bears fan, I would like to suggest a certain practice facility near Green Bay, Wisconsin.

  • I'm sure Amazon will see that these tests will help their deliveries and therefore profits. So they will be more than willing to help the US taxpayer to pay for it.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/17/apple-corporate-income-tax-rate_n_1429955.html [huffingtonpost.com]

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