Civilian UAVs Face Challenges

Posted 8 Jun 2002 at 21:21 UTC by steve Share This

Stories about military UAVs have dominated the news since the most recent wave of Islamic terrorism swept the world but UAVs continue to take on many civilian jobs as well. A new article in Nature describes the growing number of jobs for these robot planes and the challenges they face in being accepted by civilian aviation authorities. In the US, the FAA isn't even sure if a UAV meets the legal definition of a plane so it's hard to know what criteria must be met to fly one.

400 foot AGL?, posted 10 Jun 2002 at 15:45 UTC by hudson » (Master)

I'm actively working on an autonomous helicopter project that could very well be subject to these sorts of regulations. Most people seem to agree that 400 foot AGL is the limit for unregistered vehicles, but I can not find anything definite. Does anyone know of FARs that cover such restrictions?

Good question, posted 11 Jun 2002 at 20:05 UTC by steve » (Master)

I had a similar question come up recently. I was discussing robots with a friend in Colorado and we came up with the idea of trying to build a robot that could autonomously make the journey from my location in Dallas to his location in Colorado Springs. At one point we talked about various types of flying robots and ran into the question of whether or not such a robot could legally make the trip. My reasoning was that R/C planes and even weird, manned things like balloons or experimental aircraft could probably do it, so why not a robot. But I haven't got a clue what rules would apply and where to find them.

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