Posted: Mar 14, 2013 6:03 PM by Jessica Holley - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Mar 14, 2013 6:52 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - Unmanned aerial vehicles, or what most people like to call 'drones' are popping up in our national airspace more and more lately.
Just this month air traffic controllers at JFK Airport in New York City became concerned when one was spotted on their radar.
Incidents like this are what's prompting the FAA and congress to look in to how these aircraft can the skies with larger planes.
The word drone, or as the researchers at Texas A&M Corpus Christi like to call them unmanned aerial vehicles, often sparks fear and anxiety. Not only for people, but also to the FAA. It's main concern with the UAV's is safety when flying along side with manned aircraft.
"The complexities of integrating them into the national airspace in a way that is compliant with the existing rules of operation for aviation is something that takes a little bit of time to develop," says American Aerospace CEO, David Yoel.
Which has researchers at Texas A&M Corpus Christi experimenting on a ranch in South Texas.
"The basic concern is how do you avoid these planes running in to each other?," says Dr. David Bridges of TAMCC.
And so communication and visualization are vital during these experimental flights. Dr. David Bridges hopes soon these UAV's will be allowed to fly without a constant watch over them.
"Hopefully we can get to the point where they don't have to be under human eyes at all times. That we have the technology where we can sense and avoid other air crafts," says Dr. Bridges.
It's still going to be a few years before you see these aircraft flying along side manned aircraft in the sky. But once it can be done, this research will help during times of disaster.
"Post hurricane, flood, fire, things like that where it's unsafe to put pilots in the air the radar systems may be down, the power systems may not be safe to pilots in flight," says Yoel.
But until new guidelines are set these two aircraft will continue to fly side by side over unpopulated test ranges.
A&M Corpus Christi researcher are just one of a dozen groups of scientist around america competing to be an official UAV test range. Congress is only allowing six in the nation.
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