New Class of Drones Being Tested. Will They be a Boon for our Economy?

Once a propeller of Southern California's economy before the end of the Cold War, the aerospace industry is getting another local boost. This time in the form of drones.

Last November, KCET's SoCal Connected (watch the segment Drones Rising above) looked into the industry, finding that it could be worth $80 billion in 10 years. And it may not be exclusively military either: the potential for civilian uses, such as with local police and fire departments, even TV traffic reporters, are on the rise.

Now the LA Times is reporting that things are progressing as three revolutionary drones are currently being tested at Edwards Air Force Base in the Antelope Valley.

One of those is the Global Observer, a large communications and surveillance plane that can stay in the air for up to a week. Another is the Phantom Ray, which can reach speeds of 615 mph. Those two, along 11 others are included in SoCal Connected's fascinating A Geek's Guide to Drones.

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