Texas A&M Corpus Christi wants to be drone test site

Texas could be 1 of 6 test sites in US

Author: Tim Gerber , Reporter, tgerber@ksat.com
Published On: Jul 10 2012 09:33:04 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 11 2012 02:35:25 AM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

Texas could soon be home to one of six test sites to research the use of drones.

On Tuesday, leaders from around the U.S. met at Texas A&M Corpus Christi to begin the process of convincing the Federal Aviation Administration to bring a test site to the Texas coast.

"We can take these drone air craft and build them fairly inexpensively," said Dr. Stacey Lyle with Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

Students at the university are already learning how to build and operate drones that can be used to create incredibly detailed maps of the Earth.

Now the university wants to be home to a test site for the unmanned aircraft.

"We are looked at as one of the key locations to build one of those FAA centers," said Lyle.

The proposed test site would research the security of GPS systems, laws and policies regulating growing drone traffic, and how the military and civilians could share airspace. It could also bring new business to the region.

"Those will bring jobs and companies and infrastructure so that we can be leaders in the U.S., in the UAS market," said Lyle.

While there are still questions about the impact of drones on people's privacy, those in the industry say they will be a major part of our future, and that Texas should prepare its students to lead the nation in their use.

"Their ability to not only learn who to operate them but how  to build them, how to design them how to create the  hardware and the software that they have will be  important to job security for this state and this nation," said Lyle.

The FAA is expected to respond to Texas A&M Corpus Christi in late July.