Drone makers push Congress to open skies to surveillance

The Federal Aviation Administration has been flooded with applications from…

The Federal Aviation Administration has been flooded with applications from police departments, universities, private corporations and even the celebrity gossip site TMZ, all seeking to use drones that range from devices the size of a hummingbird to full-sized aircraft like those used by the U.S. military to target al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan and elsewhere.

Domestic use of drones began with limited aerial patrols of the nation’s borders by Customs and Border Patrol authorities. But the industry and its allies pushed for more, leading to provisions in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, signed into law on Feb. 14 of this year.

The law requires the FAA to fully integrate the unmanned aerial vehicles into national airspace by September 2015. And it contains a series of deadlines leading up to that one: This month, the agency was supposed to produce a comprehensive plan for the integration, and in August it was required to have a plan for testing at six different sites in the U.S. Neither plan has been issued.

Read the rest of Gary Martin’s report from Chron.com.

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