Agencies push for drone testing over SoCal

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SAN DIEGO — An effort is underway to make Southern California a test area for drones.

Earlier this month, a coalition including the San Diego Military Advisory Council and San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation filed an application with the Federal Aviation Administration to create a test zone for unmanned aircraft.

droneThe FAA predicts there could be 10,000 commercial drones in the skies by 2020.

The agency will choose six zones across the country for drone testing — estimated to become a $10 billion industry.

“It makes sense for the San Diego region to be part of this,” said Larry Blumberg, executive director of SDMAC.

Blumberg said the proposed area would extend from Inyo-Kern County to the border.

“We have things here that other regions don’t have.  We have the Navy and the Marine Corp who use unmanned aerial vehicles.  We have airspace and at-sea training ranges,” Blumberg said.

San Diego County drone makers like General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in Poway are also part of the coalition as they employ more than 7,000 people.

Blumberg said a test zone would mean even more jobs.

“Jobs get created.  The types of jobs that are high-paying.  You can think of the benefits to our region from a purely economic standpoint.  It’s almost a no-brainer,” Blumberg added.

For many, domestic drones make for a frightening invasion of privacy.  Efforts to stop the use of drones is taking shape since there is no clear U.S. policy.

The application process is expected to take months.

4 comments

  • ventura lax shuttle

    Technology is increasing at a higher rate day by day. So as it is applicable in every case. And the rise of technology is seen in aircraft. There was a coalition between San Diego military organization and San Diego regional economic committee. And recently they have developed a technology in which they have designed unmanned aircraft6 and they would test South California.

  • Sam Kephart

    Domestic drone usage is ill-conceived, elitist, and end-runs our inherent Constitutional protections.

    Here are two (2), very well-produced, videos that anchor my points:

    Emmy Award-winning newscaster Shad Olson’s ‘The Great Drone Debate’, featuring US Senator John Thune (7:41):


    Here’s a mind-blowing, well-done animated short that really captures our collective angst that if the road to perdition is paved with good intentions, then domestic drones are a superhighway to an Orwellian panoptic gulag (3:22):
    http://vimeo.com/59689349

    For national security purposes, Americans are already subject to warrantless wiretaps of calls and emails, the warrantless GPS “tagging” of their vehicles, the domestic use of Predators or other spy-in-the-sky drones, and the Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of all our behavior through “data fusion centers.” 
    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsada
    http://www.conservative-daily.com/2013/03/22/obam

    America’s promise has always been the power of the many to rule, instead of the one. Ungoverned drone usage, particularly domestically, gives power to the one. 

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