Drones approved for civilian use in US

Saturday, July 27, 2013
By Paul Martin

July 27, 2013

In a major step that could boost the use of drones in US skies, federal regulators said they have certified two types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for civilian use in the United States.

The drones, Insitu’s Scan Eagle X200 and AeroVironment’s PUMA, will mark the first approved commercial unmanned aircraft to be operated in the US later this summer, the Federal Aviation Administration said Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Both drones have fixed wings, weigh less than 25 kilograms each, are a meter and a half long and have wingspans of 3 meters.

The PUMA, a major energy company, plans to operate the Scan Eagle off the Alaska coast to survey ice floats and wildlife.

The FAA estimates that as many as 7,500 commercial drones could fly in US skies within five years.

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