Debate on drones just beginning

Drones, drones, and more drones.

The quickly evolving technology of drones is being debated on a wide variety of levels in North Dakota and across the nation.

In North Dakota, the Legislature is considering proposals that would create restrictions on unmanned aerial vehicle usage, addressing fears that the drones could be used by law enforcement agencies to spy on residents. At least 11 states are considering restrictions or bans on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration announced last week that it wants to create six drone test sites around the country. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said the state is “well-positioned” to be one of the six sites selected. A North Dakota site would be located in the Grand Forks area, where military and Border Patrol drones are already in use. There’s also a unmanned aircraft program at the University of North Dakota.

Is there room to find potential middle ground? Can North Dakota put restrictions on drone usage, while at the same time advocating that the state should be home to a national drone testing site? It certainly opens up interesting discussion, doesn’t it?

The drone debate in North Dakota and in the nation isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s just getting started, judging by the strong reaction on both sides of the issue.