Washington: Unmanned aircraft are generally used by the military for spying on terrorist camps and even threatening enemy aircraft, but now, soon they could be seen flying domestic skies too.
They would work as airborne traffic cops, patrolling the border and maybe even shuttling cargo between cities.
"People are saying this isn``t a niche, gee-whiz technology. These are things you need to think about,” Discovery News quoted Wesley Randall, a former Air Force logistics officer and professor at Auburn University, as saying.
However, greater number of unmanned aircraft could mean a greater chance of something going wrong. Randall and his team will consider how and where robot craft should fly - which altitude, which routes and at what times.
Other grey areas are whether these drones be part of the FAA``s air traffic control system and get directions from control towers, and should remotely operated pilots with joysticks have the same training as commercial pilots. More importantly, who’s responsible if there``s a crash?
According to Peter Singer, author of the new book "Wired For War", there are always evolving roles in war and civilian society and in the next few decades there will be some kind of pairing of humans and unmanned systems.
However, human fear factor will probably not allow unmanned aircraft to fly passengers. But cargo planes might work.
"They are inherently more green. They use less gas, have less weight and overall less waste," Randall said.
First Published: Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 11:41