The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been in the process of implementing a plan to integrate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s), otherwise known as drones, into the domestic airspace. As part of this plan, the FAA is to designate six different sites around the country to test how drones can be integrated into the airspace. The FAA will now be accepting solicitations for sites where drones will be tested:
In a major step toward opening U.S. skies to thousands of unmanned drones, federal officials Thursday solicited proposals to create six drone test sites around the country.
Privacy advocates worry that a proliferation of drones will lead to a “surveillance society” in which the movements of Americans are routinely monitored, tracked, recorded and scrutinized by the authorities.
The FAA is required by a law enacted a year ago to develop sites where civilian and military drones can be tested in preparation for integration into U.S. airspace that’s currently limited to manned aircraft.
The law also requires that the FAA allow drones wide access to U.S. airspace by 2015, but the agency is behind schedule, and it’s doubtful it will meet the deadline, the Transportation Department’s inspector general said in a report last year.
The test sites are planned to evaluate what requirements are needed to ensure the drones don’t collide with planes or endanger people or property on the ground. Remotely controlled drones don’t have a pilot who can see other aircraft the way an onboard plane or helicopter pilot can.