Eyes In The Sky Could Be Good For Ohio Economy

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UPDATED: Wednesday March 27, 2013 6:42 PM

Ohio is the home of aviator giants Neil Armstrong, John Glenn and the Wright brothers.  

Proponents of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, now believe Ohio is the perfect place to research and build them.

Officials from Ohio and Indiana are working together to land one of six test-flying ranges.

At stake is a market for drones estimated to be worth billions of dollars.

"If you're building unmanned vehicles, that's the vehicle of the future.  No question about it, it could bring a lot of jobs to Ohio," said Gov. John Kasich.

But the thought of thousands of unmanned eyes swarming Ohio's sky in the coming years has unnerved privacy advocates.

"What will drones be used for?  When will they be deployed?  What information will they be gathering and how will that information be used and shared with?," asked Gary Daniels from the ACLU.

Daniels said his organization is already working with Ohio lawmakers to make sure privacy concerns are debated before more drones fly.

"Right now, there are no restrictions, rules or laws in place at the state level governing how drones and how they should be used," Daniels said.

Drone advocates, including Wouter Pelgrum, a professor from Ohio University, say Ohioans should have nothing to fear.

"There's quite an effort going on at this point to ensure that they are used appropriately and not to spy on people," Pelgrum said.

Drones could be a $94 billion dollar industry by 2020.

The FAA is expected to choose the six drone test sites by December.

Experts believe the Ohio-Indiana venture has a very good chance of being one of them.

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