Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn
What's the Latest Development?
The US government has set September 2015 as the deadline for integrating unmanned drone flights into domestic skies, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is having difficulty meeting critical interim deadlines, according to a report released Tuesday by the General Accounting Office. One deadline has already been missed: Six test sites that were supposed to be opened to unmanned aircraft are not open yet, due largely to "concerns that data collected by the drones may violate people’s privacy." The FAA has also been working for some years now on rules to govern the use of small, low-flying drones, but the draft is still being reviewed by the Department of Transportation, and it's unclear if it will be ready in time for an August 2014 publication deadline.
What's the Big Idea?
It shouldn't surprise anyone why Congress and others are breathing down the FAA's neck on this: "Industry forecasts have pegged the potential worldwide market for commercial and military drones at nearly $90 billion over the next decade, more than half of that in the U.S." An FAA spokesperson says that they are trying to resolve issues and meet deadlines as quickly as they can while also addressing privacy and safety worries.
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