Drones find new fans in Middle East and Asia

Organizers are hosting the largest show in the world this week. But don't call them drones.

By Kim Peterson Aug 15, 2013 2:22PM
A photo from the convention of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Credit:
© Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty ImagesDrones have captivated the interest of the world. Just don't call them drones anymore.

The industry won't even use the "D" word now, instead pushing the phrase "unmanned aerial vehicle," The Los Angeles Times reports. That's because people are worried about drones after seeing the Obama administration's use of the aircraft in deadly strikes against suspected terrorists overseas.

But even as Americans grow more concerned about the devices, buyers around the world are growing more interested. And some of them were visiting the largest drone show (pictured) in the world this week, the three-day convention of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International in Washington, D.C.

Drone usage is quickly expanding beyond traditional military applications. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to allow commercial drone traffic in U.S. airspace by the fall of 2015, The Times reports, and drone use is expected to explode. Drones could be used for farming and fighting fires, for example.

Demand for the aircraft is strong from the Middle East and Asia, developer Textron Systems told Reuters. The CEO of the drone maker, Ellen Lord, says about 35% of the unit's revenue is now coming from overseas buyers. Textron Systems, a unit of Textron (TXT), had 2012 sales of $1.74 billion.

Lord told Reuters that some customers want to use unmanned systems for border security, law enforcement and for watching wildlife or oil pipelines.

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Tags: NOC
2Comments
Aug 15, 2013 6:21PM
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This is our Jetsons mobil , come on , an it needs to be named ? How about ...  Man driven dome : ) an find away to recycle tires making them : )
Aug 15, 2013 7:46PM
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Why are we bombing and killing "suspected" terrorists?  Wouldn't it be prudent to know for sure if they are in fact terrorists before we kill them and their children in countries that congress hasn't declared war on?

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