San Diego chosen to take part in federal drone testing program

San Diego chosen to take part in federal drone testing program

The information will help US DOT and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) create new rules, address security issues, and improve communications.

The pilot project winners include the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma, the Memphis, TN airport, the North Dakota Department of Transportation, the Lee County Mosquito Control District, in Fort Myers, FL, the Kansas Department of Transportation, the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, Virginia Tech, the city of San Diego, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and the city of Reno, NV.

Reno, Nevada-based drone delivery company Flirtey will work with four of the 10 cities on its project to carry defibrillators to heart attack patients. They will get special permission to test drone applications that are now banned or require a hard to attain waiver, such as flying unmanned systems over people, beyond line of sight and at night.

"We set out to build the strongest and most diverse coalition possible in order to support a drone initiative Flirtey has already been spearheading in our community - lifesaving drone deliveries", Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve said. Another partner is General Electric, he said. "I do think it's a big step forward".

The airport will use drones for perimeter security and to detect foreign objects and debris on runways. "We're focused on developing a safe operating model for drones in the airspace and we will continue our work to make this a reality", said Brian Huseman, Amazon's vice president of public policy.

Drone companies will be matched with state or local governments in the journey to develop the technology in various areas.

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"This model is a game-changer for the health of our communities and will prove the viability of this lifesaving program, which has the potential to save over 1 million American lives over the decades to come", he said.

The start by the USA government previous year which will allow for a larger scale of testing.

The DOT culled 10 pilot projects from 149 applications. Those governments then team up with companies in the drone business to figure out how drones can coexist with the other aircraft in the sky.

Some reports have also said that 10 government companies are going to conduct the flight testing. Drones will be operated beyond visual line of sight of operators, and pilots will be alerted to the presence of drones. While FAA gradually has begun approving waivers allowing night flights and other expanded operations, the industry wants to operate longer range flights for agriculture, inspections and deliveries.

As of May 4, there were 1.1 million registered drones in the USA and more than 90,000 registered drone operators, she said. So-called beyond-visible-line-of-sight flights offer some of the greatest potential for commercial operations, but they also are among the most hard technically to ensure they don't strike other aircraft or veer off course.

The agency has said it hopes the proposed rules, laying out safety provisions when drones are flying above people and a requirement for them to transmit their identification, would be issued this year.

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