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Fort Collins Company Sees Future Of Flight

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A prototype of an unmanned helicopter at Scion UAS in Fort Collins (credit: CBS)

A prototype of an unmanned helicopter at Scion UAS in Fort Collins (credit: CBS)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)- A Fort Collins-based company has scored a lucrative military contract for a very interesting piece of equipment- unmanned helicopters.

Scion UAS manufactures the unmanned helicopters that have many uses including as part of the police force and a news gathering helicopter.

Dr. Philip Jones is one of four co-founders that make up Scion UAS- which stands for Unmanned Aerials Systems.

For years, Jones said their unmanned vehicles were mainly used for the military. Now the company is bringing the helicopters to the commercial world.

“Anything from search and rescue, looking for a lost skier, lost snowmobilier. We’re looking at helping fire departments, looking at monitoring forest fires,” said Jones.

He said the helicopters are smaller, more cost effective and easier to use than piloted helicopters.

That design caught the eye of the military.

“This is the very beginning skeleton of our new aircraft that we’re currently building for a Navy contract,” said Jim Sampson with Scion UAS.

He said unmanned vehicles either on the ground or in the sky are the future.

“The line between manually driven cars or manually flown aircraft and robotic vehicles is starting to blur. In the not so far off future you’ll be able to get in your car and tell it ‘Take me home’ and it will take you home. That’s been reserved for science fiction in the past but we’re just now starting to see that technology come to light,” said Sampson.

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to reach a resolution on the unmanned aircraft by 2015.

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