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Drones Still Face Major Hurdles In US Airspace 166

coondoggie writes "Communications and effective system control are still big challenges unmanned aircraft developers are facing if they want unfettered access to U.S. airspace. Those were just a couple of the conclusions described in a recent Government Accountability Office report on the status of unmanned aircraft (PDF) and the national airspace. The bottom line for now seems to be that while research and development efforts are under way to mitigate obstacles to safe and routine integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace, these efforts cannot be completed and validated without safety, reliability, and performance standards, which have not yet been developed because of data limitations." The FAA and others seem mostly concerned about the drones hitting things if their GPS and ground communications are both disrupted.
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Drones Still Face Major Hurdles In US Airspace

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  • How about no? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @01:53PM (#42957007) Homepage

    We don't need thousands of unmanned vehicles zipping around in the skies malfunctioning and crashing into things and people.

    And this is not even considering privacy and security implications. At least manned vehicles have a sufficient barrier to entry (expensive) and a motivation to be extremely reliable (because the occupants will die if not).

  • drones shmones (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xevioso ( 598654 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @02:01PM (#42957035)

    My suspicion is that once drones start to become more ubiquitous in US Airspace, pecople here will come up with ways to interfere with them. In other countries directly targeted by the drones, they haven't been very successful, but in the US all it will take will be a few backyard hobbyists who really really really have issues with drones, and they will come up with an easy way to interfere/take over/destroy/ shoot down said drones...and this technology, whatever it is, will be then used by people in other countries to take out OUR drones.

    So putting drones in US airspace is actually a stupid counterproductive thing, on many fronts.

  • by mk1004 ( 2488060 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @02:05PM (#42957047)
    So if there's a mid-air collision between a private or commercial aircraft and a drone flown by a government agency, the usual legal protections will probably shield the drone operators from liability. The thought of that kinda sucks.
  • Re:How about no? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Herr Brush ( 639981 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @03:11PM (#42957725)
    You must not be a fan of sci-fi. Many, many modern inventions, social developments and world events have been preceded by fictional speculation. Perhaps a Terminator 3-type scenario isn't just around the corner but never say never.
  • by Ksevio ( 865461 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @03:52PM (#42958173) Homepage
    A commercial drone carrying cargo across the country isn't compatible with the 4th amendment? This is a much broader issue than simple surveillance drones used by the police.

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