University of Texas professor and grad students manipulate unmanned crafts’ flight paths. One exercise is done with DHS. Thousands of civilian drones are destined for U.S. skies.

The use of drones is taking off in America.

Local governments and private businesses see them as a cheap and effective way of maintaining an eye from the sky.

But will the drones be fully under their control?

A college professor and his students say not necessarily.

A civilian drone aircraft was “hijacked” by Professor Todd Humphreys and his graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin.

They were able to hack into the drone’s GPS signals.

Later, in an exercise done in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security at White Sands, N.M., they were even able to make the drone land.

Humphreys told CBS News, “You can think of this as hijacking a plane from a distance. (It’s) as if you’re at the controls of the plane, because you’ve now captured the autopilot’s sense of its own navigation solution. And you can manipulate it left or right, up or down.”