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Drones all around — Unmanned aircraft take on various roles

A flying sushi service tray known as the “itray”, created using miniature remote-controlled helicopter rotor blades, is demonstrated by staff at a “Yo! Sushi” restaurant in London, June 10, 2013. (Neil Hall/Reuters)
The number of unmanned aircraft, or drones, in the United States will jump dramatically over the next five years, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
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The increase comes after the Obama administration in 2016 implemented new rules that opened the skies to low-level small drones for education, research and routine commercial use. Policy makers are still debating whether to allow a sweeping expansion in drone use for activities like deliveries where aircraft would fly beyond the sight of an operator.

The FAA said it estimates the fleet of small hobbyist drones will more than triple from an estimated 1.1 million vehicles in 2016 to more than 3.5 million by 2021. The agency also estimates the commercial drone fleet will grow from 42,000 at the end of 2016 to about 442,000 aircraft by 2021. The aviation safety agency said there could be as many as 1.6 million commercial drones in use by 2021.


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A videographer uses a drone as he takes a video of a model presenting a lingerie creation at the rehearsal for Eve’s Temptation collection during China Fashion Week in Beijing, Oct. 26, 2014. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)
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An aerial performance, featuring 100 illuminated drones, flies above the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House during the Vivid Sydney light festival in Sydney, June 9, 2016. (Jason Reed/Reuters)
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A golden eagle grabs a drone during a military training exercise at Mont de Marsan French Air Force base, southwestern France, Feb. 10, 2017. (Regis Duvignau/Reuters)
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Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon attempts a dunk with the ball dropped by a drone in the slam dunk contest during NBA All-Star Saturday Night at Smoothie King Center, Feb 18, 2017, in New Orleans. (Gerald Herbert/Reuters)
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A man reaches out to catch a drone used to monitor rhinos in Africa to protect them from poaching during the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in New York, Sept. 28, 2015. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
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French Junior minister for Higher Education and Research Genevieve Fioraso, French President Francois Hollande, Economy minister Emmanuel Macron and Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Segolene Royal, left to right, look at a drone flying in the gardens of the Elysee Palace after the presentation of the “34 plans for the new industrial France” in Paris, Sept. 9, 2014. (Patrick Kovarik/Pool/Reuters)
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A drone flies near Tevje Lie Andersen of Norway, during the FIS Snowboarding and Freestyle Skiing World Championships – Moguls competition in Sierra Nevada, Spain, March 8, 2017.(Paul Hanna/Reuters)
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Jan Stumpf, left, of Ascending Technologies and Anil Nanduri of Intel control an Intel AscTec Firefly drone during a flight demonstration at the House Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 19, 2015. (Gary Cameron/Reuters)
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A film crew tries to catch a drone during the America’s Cup World Series off Portsmouth, England, July 23, 2016. (Henry Browne/Reuters)
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A drone, flown by Michael Perry, Director of Strategic Partnerships of DJI, flies in front of the moon in Shenzhen, China, Dec. 18, 2015, two days before the opening of DJI’s first flagship store. Chinese drone developers are racking up an impressive list of aerial solutions for a growing variety of demands, from police surveillance to agricultural mapping and traffic management. (Bobby Yip/Reuters)
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A drone is pictured flying over a mock car crash scene as Belgian police officers showcase the use of drones deployed over traffic accidents occurring on highways, in Ranst near Antwerp, Belgium, Jan. 18, 2017. (Francois Lenoir/Reuters)
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A Russian soldier launches a drone during a joint Serbian-Russian military training exercise “Slavic Brotherhood” in the town of Kovin, near Belgrade, Serbia, Nov. 7, 2016. (Marko Djurica/Reuters)
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A drone flies past the “Dinner in the Sky” platform hanging in front of the Cinquantenaire park in Brussels, June 5, 2015. “Dinner in the Sky” accommodates 22 guests, seated at a table suspended from a crane at a height of 131 ft. (Francois Lenoir/Reuters)
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A drone operated by paramilitary police flies over the site of an explosion in northeastern China’s Tianjin municipality, Aug. 17, 2015. Huge blasts at a warehouse for hazardous chemicals killed many people and turned nearby buildings into skeletal shells in the Chinese port of Tianjin. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)
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Indigenous men from several tribes look at a drone during the first World Games for Indigenous Peoples in Palmas, Brazil, Oct. 28, 2015. (Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)
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A drone with an attached camera films a Lebanese Christian man, portraying Jesus Christ, as he takes part in a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in al-Qraya village, southern Lebanon, April 3, 2015. (Ali Hashisho/Reuters)
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A DJI Phantom 3 drone flies during a demonstration at their first flagship store in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China, Dec. 20, 2015. Already well established as a world leader in drone manufacturing, China is slowly emerging as a world-class innovator, not just a duplicator of foreign designs. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)
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A police surveillance drone flies over a demonstration against a French labor law proposal in Paris, April 28, 2016. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)
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Iraqi security forces use a drone during a battle with Islamic State militants in the Intisar district of eastern Mosul, Iraq, Jan. 1, 2017. (Khalid al Mousily/Reuters)
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An Airspace Systems Interceptor autonomous aerial drone releases a kevlar net to capture a simulated hostile drone during a product demonstration in Castro Valley, Calif., March 6, 2017. (Stephen Lam/Reuters)
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An Autel Robotics X-Star drone with a FLIR Duo module is shown during the 2017 CES in Las Vegas, Jan. 6, 2017. The module is a compact dual-sensor thermal and visible light imager. (Steve Marcus/Reuters)
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Members of the Russian Emergencies Ministry take part in a training session, part of the preparation for Russian Orthodox Epiphany celebrations, in the suburbs of Moscow, Jan. 13, 2016.(Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters)

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Daily News Photos: Drones all around — Unmanned aircraft take on various roles
Drones all around — Unmanned aircraft take on various roles
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