Drone Technology Is the Topic of a New "Front Page" Segment with James Earl Jones

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The Public Television series is highlighting updates in drone technology in a new profile.

In an upcoming 2017 episode of “Front Page”, host James Earl Jones will introduce a piece that discusses drones, their uses, regulations, and potential problems caused by the ever-increasing numbers of civilian drones.

Drones, also known as “unmanned aerial vehicles” (UAV), are aircraft that operate with no human pilot aboard. Pilots, either completely or with the help of onboard computers, control the aircraft from remote locations, sometimes as far as several thousand miles away.

Early drone use began right before the start of WWII. In 1940 the U.S. military purchased 15,000 small units from actor and hobbyist Reginald Denny for the purpose of training anti-aircraft gunners. Today, a number of military organizations employ drones for reconnaissance, or missions considered too dangerous for human pilots. New technologies have also led to the expanding use of smaller drones in commercial and recreational applications. Non-military drones now outnumber military drones with an estimated one million plus civilian drones in use today.

Of course with the rising volume of air traffic comes increased regulation. On August 29, 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) introduced comprehensive new regulations for the routine non-recreational use of small unmanned aircraft. The FAA designed the new rules to minimize risks to other aircraft and people and property on the ground.

This new informational segment of "Front Page Profile" will highlight the historical significance of drones and the future of the technology. To learn more visit the program's website. "Front Page" is distributed nationally to many PBS member stations and Public Television outlets.

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