Drone access to US skies faces significant hurdles

Germany wants to buy weapons-capable drones to protect soldiers, a move that is drawing criticism. (File) (Ethan Miller, Getty Images)
Germany wants to buy weapons-capable drones to protect soldiers, a move that is drawing criticism. (File) (Ethan Miller, Getty Images)
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Updated: 6/30 3:08 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog said Monday that the federal effort to provide drones regular access to U.S. skies faces significant hurdles, and won't meet a September 2015 deadline set by Congress.

A report by the Transportation Department's inspector general said the Federal Aviation Administration hasn't figured out what kind of technology unmanned aircraft should use to avoid crashing into other planes.

The FAA also hasn't set standards for certifying the safety of drone designs and manufacture like those that exist for manned aircraft. Nor has the agency developed procedures for air traffic controllers to guide drones or criteria for training "pilots" who remotely control drones from the ground.

The report said that until the FAA resolves these problems and others, the effort to integrate drones into the national airspace will move slowly.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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