Report Of Drone Crashes A 'Record Of Calamity'

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More than 400 U.S. military drones have been involved in major crashes around the world since 2001. NPR's Scott Simon reflects on the news, which was revealed in a Washington Post investigation.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Here in the U.S., drones are about to take off, if you please. Deployed for surveillance by police and civilian agencies and even tested for crop dusting and pizza delivery. But the Washington Post reports this week that more than 400 military drones have crashed since 2001. The Post calls that a record of calamity that exposes the potential dangers of throwing open American skies to drone traffic. Through the Freedom of Information Act, the paper found that drones have already crashed into homes, highways, runways and once into a transport plane in flight. The year-long Post investigation discovered that a lot of drones crash because they're not equipped, like most airplanes, with anti-collision systems. And it turns out that piloting a drone with a joystick in a basement is actually a lot more tricky than playing the "Call of Duty" video game.

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