Drone On Series Part 1: Flight Technology - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Drone On Series Part 1: Flight Technology

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LA CRESCENT, Minn. (WXOW) - A drone is an unmanned aircraft. It's designed to fly without a pilot and can be controlled automatically or with a remote. Drones are small and can be easily maneuvered. The possibilities are endless and the potential is enormous.

Drones have a history in war, of being used in post 9/11 aerial strikes. Other types of drones have a different mission. From helping with search and rescue missions and disaster response, to police surveillance or even farming techniques.

According to the FAA, there are some 7,000 commercial aircraft in the skies at any given moment.  The challenge is how to integrate thousands of drones in the same space. Six different test sites around the country are experimenting with drones.

Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Interim Test Site Director at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, said "We're testing a variety of unmanned aircraft systems and beginning to develop the data that is needed to integrate them."

The future may be here sooner than we think. Cifuentes added, "It will change our lives as much as the cell phone and internet has changed our lives in the past decade."

Currently it's against the law to fly drones for commercial purposes or above 400 feet.  The FAA wants the first commercial drones to start flying by 2016.

Tune in to the News 19 10pm Report Monday, May 12th for Part II of our Drone On Series.

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