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Popular Science and 25 reasons to love drones

In June, the Federal Aviation Administration said it granted the first permission for commercial drone flights over land. (Associated Press/AeroVironment)

A team of reporters takes on drones in the August issue of Popular Science magazine, pointing out that the Federal Aviation Administration is working on regulations that would set off the widespread development and use of small, unmanned aircraft. The FAA’s progress has been slower than expected, but eventually drones are expected to fill the skies.

“The truth is, we’re witnessing a Kitty Hawk moment — the start of an era in which drones will change the world and the way we live in it,” the authors write.

Today drones may be best known for their military use; the FAA has prohibited most commercial flights until it can figure out how to make them safe. About 50 military drones have crashed on training flights in the United States since 2001, and about 24 civilian ones have been in accidents over the past year, The Washington Post reported in June. Eventually drones will help expand Internet access around the world, enable crop spraying that can improve farming and keep tabs on the weather, the magazine says. They’ll also be fun and useful, the authors say, giving you the opportunity to take great photos from overhead and speeding up deliveries to your doorstep.

Of course, drones have their drawbacks. They could be misused, and crowded skies might mean more accidents — and what about privacy? “In a world where drone operators will include police and paparazzi, it will be hard to escape from probing eyes in the sky,” Popular Science says.

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