Commercial interests are not allowed to fly overhead. Nor most local governments. Hobbyists can, if they keep their drones under 400 feet. And the skies will eventually open up to everyone. "Ironically, my 9-year-old can fly drones, but the police department can't." Anderson says.
The problem is that our airspace is governed by a policy called sense-and-avoid. Flying vehicle control systems -- be they people or computers -- are ultimately responsible for avoiding other vehicles.
It's all about licensing and not about technology. Some think we should be scared:
New documents shed light on which government agencies are experimenting with the domestic use of unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones.
Drone use isn't restricted to Homeland Security, the FBI, and the Air Force. Legal authorization to fly drones has also been extended to police departments including ones in Herington, Kan., (population 2,526) and Gadsden, Ala., (which touts the nearby Foggy Hollow Bluegrass Gatherin' on its town Web site).
But if we are granted use (and hobbyists can already fly drones) it's only a short hop from an unmanned remote controlled helicopter to something that the Jetsons would flit about in. So if we want to kick start the economy - and we surely do - wouldn't allowing manned aircars be just the ticket? Bring it on I say!