By Sam Robinson
Indiana is among several states competing for a license to test unmanned aerial vehicles. While proponents say the idea could bring jobs and money to the state, those against it worry about the safety risks.
The Federal Aviation Administration plans to choose six teams from across the country to test and develop unmanned aerial systems, commonly called drones, for the civilian market.
Indiana is considered in some ways to be an optimal drone testing location given its established defense infrastructure, most notably the facilities at Crane, Grissom Air Reserve Base, and Camp Atterbury.
Richard Baker is a professor at Indiana State University’s Unmanned Systems department. He says testing the drones will determine if and how they will be able to share airspace with planes.
“And the complexities come about by the fact that there are so many different sizes and so many different uses and it’s not as easy as just saying how we’re going to incorporate one new aircraft,” Baker says.