Rules due for drones to overfly U.S. homes

Aug. 8, 2012 at 10:56 AM
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MONTEREY, Calif., Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Rules on how to safely fly unmanned aircraft over U.S. homes and protect individual privacy are now being drafted, a top federal aviation official says.

The regulations should be ready by September 2015, Michael Huerta, the acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration announced Tuesday at a gathering of drone makers and potential buyers, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The FAA has approved 106 federal, state and local government agencies to fly drones in U.S. airspace.

Drones are used in military operations around the world. But they are not currently allowed to fly in U.S. airspace without an FAA permit because they don't have the technology to prevent mid-air collisions.

The robotic aircraft are being used for non-military purposes such as flying into hurricanes or helping spot hot spots in wildfires. They were used to check radiation levels in the Japanese nuclear plant disaster in Fukushima and are being allowed for limited police surveillance.

Huerta's statement came as an IBOPE Inteligencia poll found three quarters of U.S. residents surveyed said they were concerned or very concerned about government using the robotic aircraft to monitor civilians.

The poll surveyed 2,128 U.S. adults and has a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points.

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