Kansas selected for program aimed at expanding drone flights

Kansas selected for program aimed at expanding drone flights

The pilot program is aimed at producing data to assist the Federal Aviation Administration in establishing rules and regulations to safely integrate drones at scale. This latter point is particularly crucial for drone-based deliveries.

The 10 pilot drone test projects selected from 149 applications are in California, Tennessee, North Dakota, Nevada, Kansas and other states. "Flirtey is committed to our partners across the nation, and we're excited to work closely with them to bring drone delivery to their communities". Asked about Amazon's absence, Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeff Rosen cited a rigorous process and said there were "no losers". "This is an important first step in the process of drone integration". The United States has lagged other countries in experimentation with drones, something the program hopes to correct.

Despite being sidelined for now, Amazon and China's SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd both offered support for the program.

A spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, another victor, said Apple Inc is among its partners, and Apple said it plans to use the testing program to improve Apple Maps by capturing aerial images. Winners include projects focused on package delivery, environmental monitoring, precision agriculture, pipeline oversight and integrating drones near airports, the USA official said. General Electric Co is also a partner, he said.

Kansas selected for program aimed at expanding drone flights
Kansas selected for program aimed at expanding drone flights

Earlier, the department confirmed it had sent two planned rules to the White House to regulate the increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Examples include flying drones at night, as well as flying them beyond an operator's line on sight.

"Everything hinges on that", Lawrence said, because all aircraft need to identify themselves "if you want large scale UAS operations".

"Kansas is once again leading the way on the national and global stage", he said. Several incidents around major airports have involved drones getting close to aircraft.

President Donald Trump signed a directive a year ago to establish the "innovation zones" that allow exemptions to some drone regulations, such as flying over people, nighttime flights and flights where the aircraft can't be seen by the operator.

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