Jeff Smith 7 a.m., March 30
Drones big boost for county economy
As controversy intensifies, SD listening most intently, says Daily Beast
San Diego County is home to the two largest drone makers, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and Northrop Grumman. Smaller local companies make drones, and others make components. In an article in the Daily Beast dated March 31, Erik Bruvold of the National University System Institute for Policy Research estimates that the drone business provides 14,000 jobs in the county and generates as much as $2 billion in annual revenue. Drone production comprises more than 12% of Department of Defense contract activity in the county, says Bruvold.
But controversy -- er, uh -- drones on. The Federal Aviation Administration predicts that by decade's end, as many as 30,000 drones will be flying U.S. airspace, says Daily Beast. This has raised many privacy concerns. Drones can steer pesticides to crops; inspect bridges, pipelines and power lines, and find hurricane victims stranded on rooftops, according to the Associated Press. Since January, more than 30 states have introduced legislation that would prevent police from using drones for broad public surveillance, says the A.P.
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