Newsflash:
Sunday, 05 January 2014 20:49

Drones Will Be Tested in 10 US States - Is Yours One?

Written by  Kristina Chew | Care2

At least ten states will be sites for testing drones — unmanned aircraft — in the next couple of years, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) announced on Monday. Six institutions have been authorized to operate test locations for the use of drones and for studying how they will interact with air traffic systems.

The drones are not the Predators, Global Hawks or other government-operated long-range planes but aircraft with potentially commercial and other uses. For instance, a Styrofoam helicopter powered by lighter fluid could be sent over fields to detect agricultural pests. An electric helicopter could be dispatched to the roof of a building to check on a water tower.

The drones will not immediately have access to the national airspace system (NAS) and are to be gradually integrated into the nation’s skies; the FAA is to develop operation guidelines by 2015. Drone research at the testing sites is intended to “help the F.A.A. answer key research questions” by providing “data and other information related to the operation” of such unmanned aircraft such as how to train and certify ground-based pilots, how to make sure the drone will still operate safely if radio contact is lost (if, for instance, the aircraft’s engine fails) and how to avoid collisions.

At Least Ten States Will Be Test Sites

The six entities that were selected as test site operators are the University of Alaska, the state of Nevada, New York’s Griffiss International Airport, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).

The actual tests will occur in at least ten states. The University of Alaska proposal calls for “test site range locations in seven climatic zones as well as geographic diversity with test site range locations in Hawaii and Oregon.” Nevada’s testing will occur not only within the state but on its border with California. Griffiss International Airport is a a former Air Force base near Rome in upstate New York and will conduct some tests from Cape Cod in Massachusetts; it was chosen as a site to research the “complexities of integrating” drones into the crowded airspace in the Northeast. Virginia Tech’s tests (which are to study “failure mode,” when an aircraft’s control link is lost) will occur in Virginia and also in New Jersey in partnership with Rutgers University. The sites in North Dakota and Texas were in part chosen to provide “geographic and climatic diversity.”

Concerns About Surveillance and Privacy Loom

The idea of unarmed drones has raised questions about their possible use for surveillance. The F.A.A. does have a number of privacy requirements in place for the test program. Test site operators must “comply with federal, state, and other laws protecting an individual’s right to privacy, have publicly available privacy policies and a written plan for data use and retention, and conduct an annual review of privacy practices that allows for public comment.”

Luis R. Sepulveda, an assemblyman from the Bronx, who has introduced a bill to limit police use of drones in the New York State Assembly, calls the F.A.A.’s announcement of test sites both “good news… and bad news,” commenting that these are “devices that can be disguised in such a way that you don’t even know you’re being recorded.” In a report last December, the American Civil Liberties Union also pointed out that giving drones more access to our airspace leads us one step closer to a “surveillance society in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded and scrutinized by the authorities.”

Increased Use of Drones for Commercial Purposes is on the Horizon

The F.A.A. has already issued one commercial license to ConocoPhillips, the oil company, to use a ScanEagle (which the U.S. government uses for spying) off the Alaska coast, according to Michael P. Huerta, the agency’s administrator. The F.A.A. currently “keeps the use of drones on a short-leash, prohibiting their use except through specific test-site approval — as seen in today’s announcement — or as model airplanes and toys, only rarely granting commercial ventures the opportunity to use them,” as Think Progress notes.

Monday’s announcement suggests that is likely to change. State economic development agencies have predicted that the use of drones could turn into a “major industry,” the New York Times saysAmazon’s plan to develop a remotely powered octocopters to deliver small items could be just the start of commercial, unarmed aircraft routinely whizzing through our skies.

Link to original article from Care2

Read 4918 times Last modified on Sunday, 05 January 2014 21:07

PDA In Your State

Progressive Round Table

Please make plans to join us for the July Progressive Round Table. We will focus on Declaring our Independence from Wall Street and Corporate Control. Please join Progressive Democrats of America and many others Wednesday, July 16 from 1 to 3pm in Rayburn 2103. Livestreamed anywhere you are by We Act Radio. Featuring: Andrea Miller - Detroit Water Shutoff Update Rep. Keith Ellison (HR 1579 - Inclusive Prosperity Act) Rep. Jim McGovern (HJ Res20 & 21 - Corporations are NOT People and Money is NOT Speech) Rep. Jim McDermott - HR 4754 - Managed Carbon Price Act of 2014 Rep. Mark Pocan - Trans Pacific Partnership Emily Wurth - Food and Water Watch Public Banking - BankAct - Marc Armstrong Robin Hood Tax Campaign - Kenn Zinn,National Nurses United Jacqui Nantier - We Are Woman - ERA and Voting Rights DC Rally American Sustainable Business Council - Stephen Shaff Labor Campaign for Single Payer - Mark Dudzic Trey Hawkins - Credit Union National Association Witold Skwierczynski - AFGE - Stop the closing of Social Security Offices Please contact Andrea Miller andrea@pdamerica.org for more information about how to get involved with PDA, and / or with PDA's July Round Table meeting. Hope you can join us!

PDA's July Congressional Roundtable


PDA’s July Congressional Roundtable
PDA June Roundtable
PDA June Roundtable
7007 sec.
Views: 158
PDA’s Progressive Roundtable
PDA's Progressive Roundtable
4978 sec.
Views: 194
PDA April Roundtable
PDA April Roundtable
6526 sec.
Views: 140

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

PDA in the Media