Drones: Emerging serious tool with many uses

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STEAD, Nev. (KOLO) Drones. They come in various shapes and sizes, not some much different than the ones on your kid's Christmas list last year.

But don't be fooled by their toy-like appearance. These lightweight aircraft are serious tools and those flying them and their clients are finding new uses for them all the time.

If it seems we hear and see a lot more about them around here, it's because our area is just one of a handful federally designated for drone testing and development. And that status has made our area a leader in drone technology, and apparently the business is following.

Brian Kulpa says businesses come to his aerial photography business for a variety of reasons, but all because of the unique view of the world below that the drone offers, delivered quickly at a lower price.

"I've done work for construction companies. They used to use manned aircraft to go around in circles at altitude to take pictures where now I can come in with a drone and take those same pictures at lower altitudes with more detail."

All of this is just what Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is aiming for back in Washington.

"And not to just lead the country and the world really in drone technology," says the senator, "but to build that work force that's necessary, the skills that are going to be necessary to be around this drone technology."

July 21, 2017, the senator was at Stead with some of the local drone operators watching, learning and even taking the controls.

The senator sits on the Science, Commerce and Transportation Committee, and with others has just introduced a new bill aimed at continuing the development of this new industry.

She says she came away from the demonstration impressed with the drone's capabilities, especially the quick turnaround of gathered data, and she's especially interested in developing its use by first responders.

"What you see is that first step in turning around the information immediately. So whether you're a first responder or local government, you can use it to the benefit of your community and at a decreased cost."