Josh Solomon | Medill News Service
WASHINGTON — Thousands of unmanned aircraft systems – commonly known as drones – could be buzzing around in U.S. airspace by 2015 because of a law passed last year, aiding in police investigations, scientific research and border control, but also raising safety and privacy concerns among some lawmakers and advocacy groups.
Already, drones are in use to count sea lions in Alaska, to conduct weather and environmental research and to monitor drug trafficking across our borders. In fact, 327 drones already have been licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly over U.S. soil.
But the FAA expects that number to increase to 30,000 by 2020, fueling what could become a $90 billion industry.