Many types of companies are hoping to use a high-flying technology called drones.
Drones are small airplanes or helicopters. They are flown by remote control. Drones have no pilot. They are often used in situations that are too dangerous for a plane with a pilot.
The U.S. military has been using drones in war to fight enemies. Now, many different kinds of companies hope to use drones.
Setting Up Rules
Drone expert Rachel Stohl said drones can be used for just about anything.
Still, very few companies are using drones right now. The U.S. government has not allowed them to. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the government group that is in charge of airplanes and airports.
The FAA has been very slow to allow companies to use drones. Only police and research groups have been allowed to use the small aircraft so far.
The FAA is working on a plan for drones. It wants to allow more people to use them, but it has to set up some rules first. The group is supposed to find a way to allow drones before 2015. It may take even longer, a government official said.
Smaller, Cheaper, SaferDrones are a challenge for the FAA. Traditional airplanes and helicopters come in standard shapes and sizes. They are used for common jobs. Drones can come in any shape and size. They can also be used for almost anything.
Drones can solve problems for many different types of companies. They are often smaller and cheaper than traditional aircraft. They can go into areas that are too dangerous for people.
Many people need high-quality photos taken from the air, Cummings said. Farmers could use drones, so could movie directors, mapmakers and people trying to save wildlife.
Making Movies, Throwing FootballsDrones could also fly above bridges and tunnels to make sure they are safe. It is a cheap and safe way to see things from above, Cummings said.
Some businesses have begun using drones and many more are considering it.
Some movies have used drones to film some scenes. Oil companies want to use drones to search for oil. The Washington Nationals baseball team used a small drone to take pictures of the team.
College football teams use drones in practice. Fresno State has a drone fly behind a player during drills.
The drone gives the players "a unique perspective,” coach Tim DeRuyter said.