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Update: According to New Brunswick Today’s Richard Rabinowitz, unmanned aerial vehicles have been in New Brunswick since at least 2009.
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Rutgers University will be testing unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones, for use by U.S. government agencies.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced plans on Monday to test unmanned flying aircrafts at several colleges including Rutgers, Virginia Tech, and the University of Maryland.
“These test sites will give us valuable information about how best to ensure the safe introduction of this advanced technology into our nation's skies," said Anthony Foxx, the head of U.S. Department of Transportation.
The FAA explained in a press release that officials “considered geography, climate, location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, safety, aviation experience and risk.”
“Each test site operator will manage the test site in a way that will give access to parties interested in using the site,” reads the press release.
“The FAA’s role is to ensure each operator sets up a safe testing environment and to provide oversight that guarantees each site operates under strict safety standards.”
Earlier this year, Congress passed a bill urging the FAA to open the skies by September 2015 for use unmanned drone use nationwide. Parties interested in flying drones would include law enforcement, government agencies, for-profit businesses like farming or photography, "hobbyists," and fire departments.
"Today, UAS perform border and port surveillance, help with scientific research and environmental monitoring, support public safety by law enforcement agencies, help state universities conduct research, and support various other missions for government entities."
The FAA’s Destination 2025 “is a vision that captures the future we will strive to achieve – to transform the Nation’s aviation system by 2025.”
“Manned and unmanned flights will each achieve safe flight, as will commercial launches to space.”
The New Jersey Full Assembly is scheduled to vote on a bill (A4073/S2702) proposing restrictions on what types of unmanned aircrafts can fly or hover over NJ.
The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 36-0 last year, and also recently passed the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee.
The proposed law “prohibits drones from being equipped with an ‘antipersonnel device’…[such as] a firearm or any prohibited weapon or device or any other projectile designed to harm, incapacitate, or otherwise negatively impact a human being.”
“Information or records of a verbal or video communication derived from the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle shall be strictly safeguarded and shall not be made available or disclosed to the public or any third party.”
Assemblyman Daniel Benson (D-14) says that the bill ensures a “basic framework that protects privacy… It’s important that we have this ahead of expected use in the future.”