Police turn to drones for domestic surveillance

January 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Posted in Aviation Law Current Event | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: USA Today

Local governments have been pressing the Federal Aviation Administration for wider use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs — a demand driven largely by returning veterans who observed the crafts’ effectiveness in war, according to experts at New Mexico State University and Auburn University. Police could use the smaller planes to find lost children, hunt illegal marijuana crops and ease traffic jams in evacuations of cities before hurricanes or other natural disasters.

The FAA is expected this year to propose new rules for smaller unmanned aircraft, a process that will include input from the public, says FAA spokesman Les Dorr. The agency also is talking with the Justice Department and national law enforcement groups “about possibly trying to streamline the process of applying for certificates of authorization” to operate such planes, he says.

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