Domestic drones
Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are aircraft either remotely controlled by a pilot on the ground or autonomously flying a pre-programmed mission. Most people are familiar with the military version of this technology from our Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Soon all nations will support fleets of military drone aircraft. Many people have also noticed this same technology being used in surveillance and reconnaissance here at home. Local and federal law enforcement agencies are rapidly increasing their use of domestic drones. Manufacturers selling drones to these agencies are considering arming these remote-controlled aircraft with nonlethal weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers and tear gas. Online retailer Amazon has even applied for permission to use drones to deliver packages. Anyone can purchase and legally fly a drone in most parts of the country. Among other things, drones are used for search and rescue missions, photography, spotting wildfires, monitoring crops and patrolling our borders. The FAA predicts that by 2018 there will be over 7,000 drone systems in operation, creating 70,000 new jobs. Colleges are now offering degrees in drone piloting. However, advocates say these developments may not be good news to those who value their privacy. They say police drone programs need oversight to ensure they are only used for emergencies or with a warrant or probable cause. They also say that images recorded by drones should only be stored if they are needed for an investigation or as evidence. American hobbyists will also buy about 700,000 drones in 2015, a 63% increase over 2014. But these cheap, simple-to-fly drones can pose a threat to regular air traffic. Each year, the FAA receives more than 100 reports of drones either sighted by commercial pilots or in close proximity to their aircraft. It has decided to require recreational drone owners to register their purchases online in an attempt to ensure they have familiarized themselves with basic guidelines for where drones can fly and under what conditions, and that they could be held accountable for an accident.

Pending Legislation:
H.R.1229 - Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act of 2015

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Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

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