Until now, drone aircraft have been confined largely to war zones—most recently in Libya—and they have become controversial for killing civilians along with insurgents. But critics and boosters alike say unmanned aircraft will increasingly be used for peacetime work. They disagree about the likely scale of the industry, but the Federal Aviation Administration is already considering new rules and training staffers to adjust to unmanned aircraft in U.S. airspace. “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” says Peter Singer, an analyst with the Brookings Institution. “Is it going to be 2012 or 2014? The point is, it’s going to happen.”
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