Texas A&M Corpus Christi is getting some push back in its attempt to become the drone capital of the country, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The City Council in Alpine, in west Texas, has rejected a request by the University’s Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft System Center of Excellence, which is seeking to become the leading facility for drone testing for government and private customers, to test and experiment with drone technology, to use its airport for drone flights.
“We are disappointed that we won’t be able to include the Alpine airport in our statewide network,” Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President of Research at A&M Corpus Christi.
He says the university has proposals in to other communities in west Texas.
Several Alpine residents spoke out over concerns often associated with Unmanned Aerial Systems, such as spying and safety.
Cifuentes points out that Texas law prohibits the use of drones to spy on private property or individuals.
In fact, he says the university’s research into drone safety will enable the aircraft to, for example, fly into the center of hurricanes, without putting a pilot in danger.
Former FAA executives have recommended the Big Bend areas of West Texas as a location for drone testing.
Cifuentes says the Alpine decision will not take A&M Corpus Christi out of the running to become designated by the FAA as a drone test site.