Texas Among States Chosen To Test Drones
The Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday that Texas will join six other states in developing testing sites for unmanned aircraft.Texas will host 11 research sites located near Fort Stockton, Fort Hood, College Station and Corpus Christi with several located in South Texas outside of Beeville.
Texas was among 24 states that submitted proposals and was chosen along with Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota and Virginia in order to provide diverse climates, geography and air traffic environments.
The FAA does not currently allow commercial use of drones, but it is working to develop guidelines by the end of 2015. In the meantime, businesses, farmers and government are making plans to develop these craft. Their interest could create more than 70,000 new jobs in the first three years following Congressional loosening of drone restrictions according to an industry-commissioned study. The study also projects an average salary between $85,000 and $115,000 for the average drone pilot.
FAA Administrator Michael Heurta has addressed privacy concerns by requiring test sites to have a written plan for data use and retention as well as an annual review of privacy practices. Despite these requirements, there are still major privacy concerns among civilians and politicians on both sides of the aisle.