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White House Unveils Public, Private Efforts to Facilitate UAV Airspace Integration

droneThe White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy has announced several government and industry initiatives that seek to facilitate the integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the National Airspace System.

The White House said Tuesday the National Science Foundation will award $35 million in research funds over a five-year period to support research projects that aim to apply UAS in disaster response, agriculture and physical infrastructure inspection, among other efforts.

NASA will launch a research effort in fiscal year 2017 to help facilitate the development of standards for drones’ command-and-control systems and detect-and-avoid tools as well as work with the Federal Aviation Administration to establish a UAS data sharing working group.

The Interior Department has pledged to carry out several programs, such as the launch of a training program by October 2018 to promote the use of drones in search-and-rescue missions as well as the development of a prototyping and approval process for UAS payloads by January 2018.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will start to use UAS to collect gravity measurements and incorporate drones with its fleet of ships for observational purposes by 2017.

Other federal and state agencies that announced efforts to advance the use of UAS include the U.S. Postal Service’s office of inspector general, New York State’s Empire State Development agency and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site in North Dakota.

Companies and alliances that announced commitments to expand drone use include:

  • Commercial Drone Alliance
  • DJI
  • DroneBase in partnership with Drones & Good
  • PrecisionHawk
  • Sinclair Broadcast Group in partnership with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Academy of Model Aeronautics
  • Zipline International in partnership with Ellumen, ASD Healthcare and Bloodworks Northwest

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