Google, NASA & Drones
According to an article in The Guardian, Google has been testing drones in US airspace and is planning additional trials after making a deal with NASA.
The US currently has a ban on the commercial operation of unmanned aircraft; however, documents seen by The Guardian, state that Google has been avoiding the regulations by flying its drones over private land under NASA’s Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA).
The goal of the Federal Aviation Administration’s COA program is to let organizations such as the military, universities, and public safety departments experiment with unmanned aerial systems (UAS), as long as they meet safety standards. The regulations state that a public agency must own or exclusively operate the drone in question and that commercial operations are prohibited.
“I don’t think this kind of public-private cooperation is happening with high regularity,” said Diana Cooper, head of the unmanned aerial systems and robotics practice group at Canadian law firm LaBarge Weinstein. “But there aren’t too many stats out there.”
Both NASA and Google declined to comment on the collaboration.