The U.S. military has drones, lots of them if the daily reports coming in from Afghanistan and Pakistan are any indication. And a handful of law enforcement groups–though less than would like–have a drone or two at their disposal. But on the domestic, non-security front, drones live a in a regulatory gray area. Hobbyists can use them, but commercial entities are not supposed to employ drones for any kind of monetary gain, says the FAA.
Nonetheless News Corp’s The Daily has a news gathering drone aircraft that it’s been flying around, and the FAA is investigating that use to ensure that it complies with all of the nebulous FAA regulations that kind of exist regarding private drone usage.
The Daily has used its drone to capture aerial footage of storm-struck Alabama earlier this year as well as the flooding in South Dakota, Forbes tells us. Their hardware: a MicroDrone md4-1000, a micro aerial vehicle that can be fitted with various imagery or sensor payloads (Google has one like it, purportedly to augment its aerial map data).
Or weapons. Begun the drone wars have.