Farmers Turn To Drones For Field Operations

Sep 18, 2015

The Federal Aviation Administration recently came out with regulations about drones — aircrafts that can fly without a pilot on board.

The FAA says drones must be five miles away from an airport at all times and fly no higher than 400 feet. Those regulations are lenient enough that farmers and ranchers are starting to find ways to integrate this new technology into their work.

Brenda Salinas, a Here & Now contributor, reports from Bay City, Texas.

The First Drone Film Festival

Mar 6, 2015

The very first drone film festival takes place in New York City tomorrow night. Here & Now’s tech partner, IEEE Spectrum, sent David Schneider to investigate what all the buzz was about.

It shouldn’t take the whirring of a small drone to remind you that many people are awfully leery of these little aerial contraptions, fearing threats to privacy – and also to airliners.

A bill that would let property owners shoot down a drone that's over their land has made its way out of a Senate committee in Oklahoma, setting up a potential vote on the matter.

It's unclear whether the legislation has a chance of passage; we're reporting on it here as another facet of the debate over how drones are integrated (and regulated) in modern society.


The growing presence of drones in the skies above Oklahoma has prompted a state lawmaker to file legislation to regulate their use.

The measure by Republican Rep. Paul Wesselhoft of Moore would prohibit law enforcement authorities from using unmanned aerial vehicles without a search warrant or in other limited circumstances. Wesselhoft says it is designed to protect the privacy rights of Oklahomans and prevent unreasonable searches.

Code Pink

President George W. Bush enacted the Homeland Security Advisory System after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It designated colors to different levels of perceived threat. In response to the push toward military action they saw, a group of women, including Medea Benjamin, created CODEPINK to organize protests.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise discuss the North Korean response to the Seth Rogen and James Franco film The Interview, and the report released this week  reviewing the increased use of drones by the United States.

And a conversation with University of Oklahoma Latin America historian Alan McPherson. His new book The Invaded explores early 20th century conflicts in Nicaragua, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it has issued the first permit in its history for an unmanned aircraft to fly over U.S. soil. Oil company BP will use a drone from the company AeroVironment to conduct surveys in Alaska.

The first drone flights under the recently issued waiver have already taken place, the FAA says.

From the agency's news release:

TSGT Scott Reed / U.S. Air Force

International law impacts the behavior of both national governments and international non-state actors, governing things like the use of drones and military technology. But the effects can also be felt on an individual level – in everything from financial transactions to luggage protection and free-travel visas in the European Union.

sam_churchill / Flickr Creative Commons

Students at Oklahoma State University have designed two drones capable of punching through violent storms and aiding authorities with search and rescue efforts.

The first drone — also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle — was designed to intercept and measure key weather data in severe thunderstorms. Called MARIA, the aircraft can be deployed rapidly and flown into the lower parts of developing storm cells to improve understanding of the systems.  

The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday unveiled the names of the six applicants who have been granted the right to test the commercial uses of "unmanned aircraft systems" — drones.

The FAA's approvals were highly sought after because the test sites are expected to bring high-tech jobs and investments to the states where they're located. The six winners are: