“Oklahoma could soon capitalize on the controversial unmanned aerial systems, or drones, which are used overseas in lethal attacks against suspected terrorists and are expected to be hovering in American skies before too long—up to 30,000 of them in the next 10 to 20 years.
According to reports by the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman, the development of drones could be a $57.6 million boon to the state’s economy, creating almost 600 jobs in three years.
Oklahoma, largely through the efforts of Gov. Mary Fallin, was “the first state chosen as a testing site for small unmanned aircraft systems,” The Oklahoman reported. “The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to approve regulations for the drones by 2015, and it’s possible Oklahoma could gain hundreds more jobs by 2025, according to a study commissioned by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International,” according to the paper.
Drones are already being tested over restricted airspace at Fort Sill, the paper reported, “to be used for purposes such as search-and-rescue efforts or responding to natural disasters such as tornadoes and fires.”
Some, however, are concerned about issues of privacy—a concern addressed by a representative of the ACLU at a conference Wednesday designed to promote the benefits of making Oklahoma, as Fallin put it, “a national leader in the advancement of UAS.”
From the World:
Ryan Kiesel, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Oklahoma chapter, said he is working with lawmakers to develop restrictions on how law enforcement can use drones.
“While there are plenty of good uses for domestic drones, like searching for a missing child in the woods, we anticipate that outside of those emergency situations, that law enforcement should be required to get a probable cause warrant before they use these for surveillance purposes,” he said.