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Article updated: 3/29/2013 7:28 AM

Drone industry worries about privacy backlash

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An Insitu ScanEagle unmanned aircraft is launched Tuesday at the airport in Arlington, Ore. It's a good bet that in the not-so-distant future aerial drones will be part of Americansí everyday lives, performing countless useful functions. A far cry from the killing machines whose missiles incinerate terrorists, these generally small unmanned aircraft will help farmers more precisely apply water and pesticides to crops, saving money and reducing environmental impacts. They'll help police departments to find missing people, reconstruct traffic accidents and act as lookouts for SWAT teams. They'll alert authorities to people stranded on rooftops by hurricanes, and monitor evacuation flows.

Associated Press

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With military budgets shrinking, drone makers have been counting on the civilian market to spur the industry's growth. But there's an ironic threat to that hope: Success on the battlefield may contain the seeds of trouble for the more benign uses of drones at home. The civilian unmanned aircraft industry worries that it will be grounded before it can really take off because of fear among the public that the technology will be misused.
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