New statewide task force focuses on drones

(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY CO., AL (WSFA) - Alabama is working to get up to date with the most recent technology and the most recent focus is drones.

Gov. Robert Bentley has created a task force, Unmanned Aerial Systems, with Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan chairing the committee.

"This technology is rapidly growing and expanding. We see it almost everyday on TV where there are either problems with it or great advantages to it," McMillan said.

The task force is working to form a statewide plan for safe and responsible use of drones for individuals, businesses and the government.

When it comes to advantages of unmanned aerial systems leaders say the possibility is endless. They say they can be used for law enforcement, search and rescue, construction, surveying, utilities, and most rapidly agriculture.

Even with the variety of uses, many people are still concerned with privacy and invasion of space. Leaders hope to ease concern, saying that is top of mind as they make plans for the future.

"There's no doubt in my mind that the privacy issue will be one of the early issues that we will have to address," said Commissioner McMillan. "That's one reason I think it's good that primarily we've got government agencies doing this who are tasked with the responsibility to not only fight crime and gather information but also to protect our citizens in other areas."

Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration authorizes the use of model aircraft for hobby or recreational uses but does not allow flights for commercial operations.

This task force's plan will focus on being in compliance with anticipated FAA regulations to be put into effect by early next year, along with the privacy interest of citizens.

The group has a deadline of Jan. 15 to provide their report to Governor Robert Bentley.

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