Border Patrol to view UAVs next month

| 8/13/2003

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Bureau may soon participate in an air show of sorts, but one without pilots.

According to the National Journal’s Technology Daily, “plenty of vendors” have responded to a request to demonstrate unmanned aerial vehicles – or UAVs – for border surveillance purposes.

U.S. defense firms are hoping by late September to demonstrate their pilotless crafts.

The agency says it intends to award a contract to a manufacturer that can meet all or most of the outlined requirements to patrol U.S. borders. No decision has been made at this time if UAVs will be used permanently, the agency said.

One potential problem: The FAA has yet to establish standards for flying UAVs in airspace under its control, although operators can get certificates for limited UAV operations.

For example, FAA wonders whether drones can operate without crashing or colliding with other aircraft. And because UAVs are flown remotely, the FAA wants assurance that computer hackers can’t access software and “hijack” the planes, Technology Daily reported.