US opens skies for drones
8 Feb, 2012 20:55
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s an unmanned drone. Now over the US too.
Earlier this week the US Congress passed a bill that would send aviation in America to the next generation. Therefore making unmanned drone sightings more prevalent in the US.The bill expedites the transition from radar technology to GPS technology and requires the Federal Aviation Administration to open the US skies to drone flights by September 20 of 2015.The bill which has struggled to get passed for the last five years grants military, commercial and private unmanned aerial vehicles amplified access to US airspace.The bill allots $63.4 billion for the FAA over a four year period and $11 billion of the sum will go toward the air traffic system and its transformation. The FAAwill be required to propose a plan on how to securely provide drones with extended access.The bill also speeds up the modernization program by setting a deadline of June 2015 for the FAA to develop new arrival procedures in 35 of America’s demanding airports. This will allow aircraft to land using the more-precise GPS navigation.The bill is "the best news that the airline industry ever had," Senator Jay Rockefeller, proclaimed to the Chicago Tribune.According to the Chicago Tribune, the new system is vital to the FAA's strategy for accommodating a forecast 50 percent growth in air traffic over the next decade and currently the US makes up 35 percent of global commercial air traffic.In an article by Forbes, the use of these unmanned drones would make it easy for companies like Google to ditch the street view and easily transition “Google street drone view.”Many critics feel it would be easy for a large corporation to easily sponsor an unmanned drone for advertising purposes.And not everyone is as excited as Google and Rockefeller for the new bill.The American Civil Liberties Union doesn’t see a real need for unmanned drones to hover around all over the US.“Unfortunately, nothing in the bill would address the very serious privacy issues raised by drone aircraft. This bill would push the nation willy-nilly toward an era of aerial surveillance without any steps to protect the traditional privacy that Americans have always enjoyed and expected.”The ACLU went on to say that Congress needs to address these privacy concerns with rules that will protect the American people.“We don’t want to wonder, every time we step out our front door, whether some eye in the sky is watching our every move,” the ACLU added.Along with the ACLU many critics believe drones will have a lot less flexibility when it comes to crashing, and many hope that lawmakers’ error on the side of caution.