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.
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.