Drones

The Future Of Drone Technology

May 28, 2015
Ben Bradford / WFAE

Drones have moved from combat zones into the civilian arena and in North Carolina, our skies are so filled with them that Governor McCrory signed new legislation to regulate the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Drones have many peaceful applications, but their use requires that some questions be answered-- such as who owns the skies and what forms of regulation will be necessary to govern how they can be used and by whom?

Ben Bradford / WFAE

2015 could be a bellwether year for the commercial drone industry. The Federal Aviation Administration has projected 10,000 of the devices will be in U.S. skies by 2017. They could survey land for oil companies, film aerial shots in Hollywood, and one day perhaps deliver your food. But, the industry’s impact will depend largely on an upcoming federal decision.


NextGen Air Transportation Center

Buried deep and overlooked in the fight over the state’s 260-page budget is one provision that could have a profound effect on North Carolina’s skies: Lawmakers created a pathway for drone use to take off in North Carolina. 


Ben Bradford / WFAE

3/11/14 Update: The FAA has appealed the judge's decision to the full National Transportation Safety Board. The appeal also has the effect of staying the judge's decision.

Some unmanned flying vehicles, or drones, can be used commercially in the U.S., after a federal judge ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration cannot enforce its current policy. The agency has banned commercial drone use.

More changes are coming in regard to how standardized tests are scored.

Union County's school board is accused of sneaking through a controversial redistricting vote.

Third-party election cash is flowing into North Carolina's U.S. Senate race.

Plus, breaking news on drones.

Greg, Lisa and Ben discuss all these issue on the latest edition of WFAE Talks.

NextGen Air Transportation Center

North Carolina is the birthplace of flight. Now some people want to get in on some more recent technology - unmanned aircraft - drones. They range in size from a kid's toy to a bus-sized military aircraft and have a broad range of uses - from law enforcement and military to agriculture, journalism, and maybe even deliveries from Amazon. But as promising at the technology is, it has some privacy advocates concerned that it could open the door to unconstitutional surveillance. While the FAA develops rules over unmanned aircraft and the North Carolina legislature weighs privacy concerns, we take a closer look at drones, their applications - both public and commercial, and the safety, privacy, ethical and legal implications for unmanned flying machines.

In this second episode of our new podcast, WFAE Talks, News Director Greg Collard and reporters Lisa Miller and Ben Bradford discuss a grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer accused of shooting an unarmed man 10 times, the controversy over school redistricting in Union County and the future of commercial drones flying over our communities.

Aerial Captures

Drones are most well known for their military use, but in the near future unmanned flying contraptions may dust our crops, deliver us pizza, and become another technology that fades into the background of our lives.