U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao recently announced 10 sites for a test program meant to increase the use of drones for commercialized projects, including electric utility inspections, which could bring utilities one step closer to executing drone inspections beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).
President Donald Trump signed a directive in 2017 to establish the “innovation zones,” which allow exemptions to some drone regulations, such as flying over people, nighttime flights and BVLOS missions, according to the Associated Press.
“Data gathered from these pilot projects will form the basis of a new regulatory framework to safely integrate drones into our national airspace,” Chao said in a statement. She added that the following applicants were selected for the drone testing:
- Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
- San Diego, CA
- Reno, NV
- University of Alaska-Fairbanks
- Center for Innovative Technology in Virginia
- Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority in Memphis, TN
- Lee County Mosquito Control District in Fort Meyers, FL
- State transportation departments in:
- North Dakota
- North Carolina
Other uses for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) could include oil field inspections, flood and weather monitoring, finding missing persons, and monitoring crops, among others.
Learn more about Border States’ partnership with Sharper Shape, a global leader in automated drone services capable of flying BVLOS missions (once approved by the FAA).
This blog post was drafted in partnership with tED Magazine. Read tED’s original article, “Trump Administration Expands Test Program for Drones.”