Drones draw attention for potential, both good and bad - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Drones draw attention for potential, both good and bad

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A drone like this one sells for more than $100,000. A drone like this one sells for more than $100,000.
Bruce Dawson and his partner at Drone Systems are marketing drones for their huge potential in civilian industries like agriculture and broadcasting. Bruce Dawson and his partner at Drone Systems are marketing drones for their huge potential in civilian industries like agriculture and broadcasting.
Mandy Connell Mandy Connell

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - After almost 13 hours, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky ended his old-fashioned filibuster early Thursday morning. It was an attempt to block the confirmation of John Brennan as President Obama's next CIA director.

Thursday afternoon, Brennan was confirmed.

Sen. Paul said he was confident in the White House answers about his primary concern: the administration's policy of using drones in targeted killings and the chance they could be used on American soil.

In the meantime, Kentucky's junior senator set off a nationwide conversation. #StandWithRand became a top trend on Twitter, and all across the country, drones drew attention for how they fit into our world.

"Last night, something magic happened," said 84WHAS talk show host Mandy Connell. "People were watching C-Span... I think Rand Paul made a huge point yesterday because of his eloquence during the filibuster."

Paul, Connell and others on both sides of the political spectrum take issue with the use of drones, specifically the potential for using them to kill American citizens inside the United States.

"Perhaps some legislation needs to be put forth that clearly, clearly says, 'This is not an option,'" Connell said on her show Thursday.

New Albany business owner Bruce Dawson agrees rules relating to drones are needed, but he's talking about another type of drone.

"Once the rules are clearly established, the market, it will explode," Dawson predicts.

Dawson and his partner at Drone Systems, Joel Embry, are marketing the unmanned aircraft for their huge potential in civilian industries like agriculture and broadcasting. Right now, the biggest interest primarily is from emergency crews.

"Right now, our primary market and where it's being used for first responders, public safety issues, search and rescue," Dawson said.

The Drone Systems drone was used to give crews a birds-eye view of the train derailment near West Point last year.

It's an industry still in its infancy, and Dawson said he's working with state legislatures to come up with rules and the ACLU on the obvious question of privacy.

"I really don't see it being any more intrusive on your privacy than any other mechanisms out there now," Dawson said. 

President Obama has given the FAA until mid 2015 to come up with rules for allowing drones to share American airspace.

The Drone Systems aircraft has a range of a mile-and-a-half and can fly through rain, snow and 35 mile-per-hour sustained winds. It doesn't come cheap. The price tag is well upwards of $100,000.

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