An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from the Seattle Times: "Drone aircraft, best known for their role in hunting and destroying terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, may be coming soon to the skies near you. Police agencies want drones for air support to find runaway criminals. Utility companies expect they can help monitor oil, gas and water pipelines. Farmers believe drones could aid in spraying crops with pesticides. 'It's going to happen,' said Dan Elwell, vice president of civil aviation at the Aerospace Industries Association. 'Now it's about figuring out how to safely assimilate the technology into national airspace.' That's the job of the Federal Aviation Administration, which plans to propose new rules for using small drones in January, a first step toward integrating robotic aircraft into the nation's skyways."