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Hawaii's patrol drone grounded after state fails to seek FAA approval

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After spending $75,000 on a drone to patrol its harbors, Hawaii has been unable to use its purchase due to FAA regulations.

Hawaii unmanned drone
Hawaii unmanned drone

Last June, Hawaii received a drone that would be used to patrol the harbors around Honolulu using a high-tech camera system — but to this day it has yet to take flight. The $75,000 drone was purchased with funds from a $1.4 million security grant but has been stored in an office since it was first delivered. The problem is that the state's department of transportation didn't actually check with the Federal Aviation Administration to see if it would be allowed to fly the drone. And because of the heavy air traffic around Honolulu International Airport, the FAA told the state that the drone had to stay grounded — but by that point it was too late as it had already been paid for and built. "We had to accept it," Harbors Division administrator Davis Yogi told the Hawaii Reporter. Hawaii's DoT now has two options: sell the drone to recoup the costs or wait until the FAA approves unmanned aircrafts flying in domestic airspace. Until then, the drone will remain stuck in storage.