The Future of Drones

As Congress works to integrate drones into American airspace, questions and concerns surrounding the UAVs abound.

Global Hawk Drone
Global Hawk Drone
The Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the largest drone industry trade group, predicts as many as 30,000 drones will be flying in U.S. airspace by 2020
Drone
Drone
“Eye in the Sky” drones strike fear in the hearts of civil libertarians.
Desert Hawk II
Desert Hawk II
Lockheed Martin’s Desert Hawk III, a simple, propeller-driven surveillance drone, has proved to be a valuable battlefield tool. Its civil duties remain to be seen.
Condor UAV
Condor UAV
Here is a Condor UAV at the air-ground training complex in Avon Park, Florida, before flying during Atlantic Strike V. Civil drones corresponding to the Condor are placed into one of five groups depending on weight, speed and operating altitude.
RC Model Drones
RC Model Drones
The industry trade group for drone manufacturers wants to assure pilots that most unmanned aircraft planned for future use would be of the small, RC model type.
Little Bird Helicopter
Little Bird Helicopter
An unmanned Little Bird helicopter, a smaller version of the manned A/MH-6M, is tested and evaluated by personnel from the U.S. Marine Corps. Deployment of civil drones depends on testing and research that has been conducted by the military.
Air Force Heron TP
Air Force Heron TP
This Air Force Heron TP medium-altitude long-endurance UAV takes off from Comalapa International Airport in San Salvador, El Salvador, during a counter-drug operations support mission.
Viking 300
Viking 300
The U.S. Air Force Academy’s Viking 300 UAS flies over Camp Red Devil at Fort Carson, Colorado, in July 2009. Civil drones of this size and larger would be monitored by ATC similarly to the way manned aircraft are tracked in the air traffic system.
Drones
Drones
For more on drones, check out "Invasion of the Drones."