WellesleyWeston Magazine

SPRING 2015

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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amazon and Google are testing them for airborne package delivery to your doorstep. Facebook's grand plan is to greatly expand the Internet's reach with them. And Andreas Harsch? He just likes to fly his drone around Wellesley's Kelly Field for fun. "I have to out myself as a bit of a geek and tinkerer. I was one of those kids who flew model airplanes, gas engines and all. This interest lay dormant for almost 30 years [until I discovered drones]," the Wellesley scientist says of his hexacopter, which is fitted with a high-end camera. "I also love photography, so this seemed like a great way to combine orthogonal interests." The emergence of such non-military drones, which some prefer to call unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), is undeniable. Nobody is suggesting the skies over Wellesley or Weston will darken anytime soon with these remote-controlled, rotor-powered flying machines, but drones have begun showing up in the towns in greater numbers, both for hobbyist and commercial purposes. It's only a matter of time until more people discover them, especially as prices for decent models fall below $1,000, and as more exciting and useful applications materialize for hobbyist, civil, and commercial purposes. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which keeps the national airspace safe, has been tasked by Congress to establish rules by the end of September 2015 regarding drones that weigh less than 55 pounds and fly lower than 400 feet for commercial pur- poses. While the agency is widely seen as being far behind on this assignment, it neverthe- less estimates as many as 7,500 such approved devices could be airborne by 2018, with applications ranging from agricultural monitoring to pipeline and power line inspection. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, an industry trade group, reports that thousands of related jobs could be spawned in the United States once rules are in place, and that the economic impact will run into the tens of billions of dollars. 69 s p r i n g 2 0 1 5 | W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e B O B B R O W N writer Unmanned aerial vehicles swoop into the suburbs for fun and profit.

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