Legislator pushes for Oklahoma to lead way in unmanned aerial vehicles

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – We are seeing drones and remote controlled aircraft more and more in everyday life but one Oklahoma representative says now is the time for Oklahoma to take the “bull by the horns” and lead the charge in advanced air mobility.

“There are just a lot of applications and its very clear that this is where we are going. I just don’t want Oklahoma to fall behind,” said Rep. Ryan Martinez.

The State House member from Edmond is talking about UAVs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. We are seeing more and more of them in Oklahoma and across the country. They aren’t just for fun anymore; they are being used for public safety and much more.

“Think about being able to sit in one place on a large ranch and fly over your cattle and check them out that way,” said Martinez. “You are going to see more private companies using them as delivery methods of UAVS.”

Last week, the Republican from Edmond led an Oklahoma State House of Representatives interim study on not only using drones, but also moving people with UAVs.

“Companies that have right now as we speak, a vehicle that you can get in and fly a couple of hundred miles and do a vertical landing and take-off somewhere,” said Martinez.

Martinez says technology is already in use in Utah that takes people in UAVs over existing road, rail and waterways, through the air, so as to not invade privacy but also to allow relief of urban congestion.

“Say you do have the opportunity to have an unmanned aerial vehicle fly you for 20 minutes into Oklahoma City every day. No big deal to live in Shawnee or somewhere even further than that because suddenly your commute is very quick,” said Martinez.

Martinez says that different entities in Oklahoma have projects in place but he says a coordinated effort on the part of the state is needed. He wants Oklahoma to see the jobs that could be created if the state becomes a leader in UAV use.

“Transportation is huge and I think it’s an area that Oklahoma could really lead the charge. It’s coming whether we like it or not. Let get ahead of the ball game, maybe be pro-active, come up with a good plan,” said Martinez.

Martinez tells us privacy and legal concerns need to be hammered out right now as UAVs continue to come on-line. He says the Oklahoma Legislature needs to work with the State Department of Transportation to make sure Oklahoma is out in front of the curve.

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