Choctaw Nation selected as site for program aimed at expanding drone flights

Choctaw Nation selected as site for program aimed at expanding drone flights

The US Department of Transportation and the FAA will use the collected data to help craft new rules that expand the use cases for low-altitude operations and accelerate the approval of operations that now require special authorizations.

The state's transportation department, along, with Zipline, a medical drone-delivery startup that is now delivering 20% of the blood shipped across Rwanda (outside of its capital), will work to bring a similar delivery system to the state.

Reuters reports that as part of the FAA's spanking new drone program launched by Donald Trump, Tim Cook and pals will be able to zip drones around North Carolina to capture images to help make Apple Maps less of a stinking pile of tech excrement.

Over the next two years, the selected cities and organizations will collect drone data involving night operations, flights over people and beyond the pilot's line of sight, package delivery, detect-and-avoid technologies and the reliability and security of data links between pilot and aircraft.

Chao mentioned several specific areas where drones can help: agriculture, commerce, health care, disaster assistance, emergency response and human transportation.

Notable absentees from the approved list of 10 pilots were Amazon, which applied for a project to deliver goods within New York City, and the world's largest non-military drone manufacturer, DJI.

Uber will work with San Diego to create drone landing stations and ports. General Electric Co is also a partner, he said.

Drone tracking service AirMap, which acts as an air traffic controller for the drone industry, is a partner in six of the winning programs.

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"A lot can proceed under the FAA's current rules", in some cases with waivers from current regulatory constraints, she said.

Once the winners are announced, "the FAA will be reaching out to other applicants, as well as interested state and local authorities, to provide additional information on how to operationalize their proposed projects", Lawrence said in his remarks.

Amazon, which hopes to one day deliver packages with a fleet of drones, said it was unfortunate its applications were not selected but supports the US efforts.

At the same time, Ellman and others cautioned that the program was just a first step and the US regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration, still has to approve individual test plans.

"We've got to create a path forward for the safe integration of drones if our country is to remain a global aviation leader", Chao said at a press conference.

The USDOT announced 10 test projects that will allow companies including Alphabet, FedEx, and Uber to test the unmanned aircrafts across the country.

Many folks have purchased drones as novelties, but some of the most interesting work with the aircraft are business uses.

ShotSpotter allows the Louisville Metro Police Department to triangulate coordinates of the sound of gunfire within roughly 80 feet, and the city's drone application indicated that the camera footage from such drones would be monitored by the LMPD's Real Time Crime Center.

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