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By GCN Staff

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FAA releases road map for domestic drones

Last week, the U.S Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration released its first road map outlining safety measures for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as “drones.” The 66-page document addresses policies, regulations, technologies and procedures that will be required for use of commercial drones in national airspace.

Drones are typically used by federal, state and local government agencies, as well as universities conducting research. The Department of Homeland Security uses drones for border monitoring; NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration use them for atmospheric research; while Virginia Tech uses drones for mapping agricultural diseases. 

The road map explains that developing minimum standards for sense and avoid technology, monitoring control and communications and finding ways to ensure that UAVs can comply with air traffic control visual clearances and instructions are among the challenges yet to be overcome.

In response to concerns from privacy and civil liberties advocates, the FAA also released its final privacy policy for UAS test sites. The road map and the privacy policy have been in the works since February 2012, when Congress mandated that the FAA integrate commercial drones into civilian airspace by 2015. The FAA plans to select six test sites to research how to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace. Test site operators will manage individual site privacy policies. 

Posted by GCN Staff on Nov 14, 2013 at 8:11 AM


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