Interest in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is growing worldwide and several efforts are underway to integrate UAV operations routinely and safely into civil airspace.
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Interest in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is growing worldwide and several efforts are underway to integrate UAV operations routinely and safely into civil airspace. Currently, UAV operations are confined to special-use airspace or are limited in their access, for safety reasons, by a restrictive authorization process. This document provides a context of UAV developments, describes current initiatives, and frames and assesses the issues associated with the integration of UAVs in civil airspace. Reviewed are issues related to potential safety, security, air traffic, regulatory, and socio-economic impediments. The paper concludes with recommended actions for moving forward. The intent in describing the issues and proposing recommendations is not to suggest a conclusive set of issues nor to provide a prescriptive direction, but rather to stimulate discussion, build consensus, and promote strategic planning among the organizations having a stake in the emergence of UAVs into civil airspace.