Earlier this year, Elaine Chao, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, opened the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board with a lot of optimism about the future use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the United States.
“Fully autonomous or self-driving vehicles…are not yet available in the marketplace,” she told the group. “Drones, however, are well on their way to mainstream deployment.”
Since then, the online-based shopping behemoth Amazon has announced it received authorization to make some deliveries via drone, and the Air Force Research Laboratory has gotten a waiver from the Federal Aviation Authority to conduct studies on drones flying “beyond the visual line of sight”. Current FAA standards generally limit drone operation to within the operator’s unobstructed view.
Five years ago, MuckRock teamed up with Motherboard to conduct a massive survey of drone use by local police departments. We want to update and expand that effort, and we need your help to do it.
Let us know where you want us to look, and we’ll file a public records request to learn more about the municipality’s policies, agreements, and inventory of UAVs.
Image via Edwards Air Force Base