US Announces Test Sites for Domestic Drones

UNITED STATES

The US aviation regulator has announced the six states that will host sites for testing commercial use of drones. (BBC)

Plot the test sites on our 1-Page Map of the United States. Use different markers for different tests, and guess where the (unannounced) tests on the West Coast will be.

"Drone" is another word for an unmanned aerial vehicle. Here, National Geographic engineer Eric Berkenpas operates a drone programmed for scientific data collection. Photograph by Graham Wilhelm, National Geographic

“Drone” is another word for an unmanned aerial vehicle. Here, National Geographic engineer Eric Berkenpas operates a drone programmed for scientific data collection.
Photograph by Graham Wilhelm, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

  • The test sites described in the BBC article are being tested for commercial use of drones. What are some possible commercial uses for drones?
    • As demonstrated by the starting promotional video from Amazon, drones could be used for package delivery.
    • Drones could be used by farmers and agribusiness to spray pesticides on crops.
    • Drones might also be used for corporate or personal communication or commerce.
  • Besides commercial use, what are some other uses for drones?
    • Today, the military consistently uses drones for surveillance, defense, and attack purposes.
    • Other law-enforcement agencies, such as police forces, might use drones for surveillance and crowd control.
    • Drones are used in the filmmaking industry for taking aerial footage of a scene.
    • Drones are often used in scientific field work to capture footage or data that scientists cannot reasonably collect directly. One of the most familiar and important uses in GIS technology is remote sensing.
    • Drones may be used in the medical field to better transport tools, equipment, or medicines to remote locations.
    • Drones may help emergency first-responders better locate and help victims of a disaster, such as earthquake victims trapped beneath rubble.
    • Drones could better help park rangers and other conservationists monitor a protected area or endangered species. Poaching or forest fires could be identified and stopped more quickly, or instance.

One response to “US Announces Test Sites for Domestic Drones

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