Texas A&M: Drones Welcome Here!

For all of the hand wringing about drones in U.S. airspace, unmanned aircraft technology is expected to have a huge impact on everything from law enforcement to farming>. To help define exactly how and where those unmanned aircraft will best be used in the U.S., Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi said it is preparing to be one of only six, federal test sites for unmanned aircraft systems. The school said it has already been running missions twice a day, using a UAV owned by the university, as well as another UAV owned by company American Aerospace Advisors. The school said the UAVs are being used for research such as mapping sea grass, monitoring pipeline routes, detecting wildfires hotspots or oil spills in the ocean, and counting livestock. Texas A&M said its Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation is expected to have a positive impact of $8 billion statewide, and $260 million in South Texas over the next 10 years; creating about 1,200 jobs due to researchers flocking to the state for UAV research.