Commercial use of drones, what the FAA plans to deliver by 2015, sites developing UAS technology other than the selected six, and a common operating system for drones.
The FAA has a ban on commercial use of use of unmanned aircraft. Yet some people seem to be pulling it off. How? According to the website of Phoenix real estate photography company Aerial Raiders, they “fly for free.” They do, however, charge for editing and consulting.
The U.S. Congress mandated that the FAA fully integrate unmanned aerial vehicles into the national airspace by 2015. When asked by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee if the FAA would meet that date, FAA chief Michael Huerta didn’t exactly say “yes.”
But others are also taking action. The Arizona Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation (SVEDF) says they will provide a 160-acre testing and training facility to businesses for commercial UAS applications. The Tucson-based Cyclone Autonomous Design Group is one of the companies planning to test its UAS ISR product (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) for safety applications, to assist firefighters, police, soldiers, etc.
Duane Embree, the executive director of the Indiana Office of Defense Development, says “Companies and others will need places where they can test a little, design a little, and then test more. We can essentially do everything we were going to do — just without the FAA designation.”
The Ground-Based Sense and Avoid Network or GBSAA is designed to meet the FAA requirements for full size drones in domestic airspace. The sites (at Army installations) were chosen were because they currently have a mission using MQ-1C Grey Eagle, the largest UAS currently operated by the US Army.
The Defense Department would like to see some standard, cross-platform, off-the-shelf software. LA-based DreamHammer has created the open Ballista OS.
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