The Qube fits in the trunk of a car and is controlled remotely by a tablet computer.
(AP) A bill to speed the nation’s switch from radar to an air traffic control system based on GPS technology, and to open U.S. skies to unmanned drone flights within four years, received final congressional approval Monday.
The bill passed the Senate 75-20, despite labor opposition to a deal cut between the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House on rules governing union organizing elections at airlines and railroads. The House had passed the bill last week, and it now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The bill is “the best news that the airline industry ever had,” Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said. “It will take us into a new era.”
The FAA is also required under the bill to provide military, commercial and privately-owned drones with expanded access to U.S. airspace currently reserved for manned aircraft by Sept. 30, 2015. That means permitting unmanned drones controlled by remote operators on the ground to fly in the same airspace as airliners, cargo planes, business jets and private aircraft.
Currently, the FAA restricts drone use primarily to segregated blocks of military airspace, border patrols and about 300 public agencies and their private partners. Those public agencies are mainly restricted to flying small unmanned aircraft at low altitudes away from airports and urban centers.
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