The Transportation Department has chosen 10 state, local and tribal governments to participate in a program to accelerate the integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace.
Participants will collaborate with the Federal Aviation Administration and multiple companies to collect UAS data in the next two and a half years as part of the UAS Integration Pilot Program, DOT said Wednesday.
The selectees will work to gather collect information about UAS applications in the areas of night operations, beyond-line-of-sight flights, package delivery, detection and data link security.
“Data gathered from these pilot projects will form the basis of a new regulatory framework to safely integrate drones into our national airspace,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
The program participants are:
- Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Durant, Okla.
- City of San Diego, Calif.
- City of Reno, Nev.
- Kansas Department of Transportation, Topeka, Kan.
- Lee County Mosquito Control District, Ft. Myers, Fla.
- Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, Memphis, Tenn.
- North Carolina Department of Transportation, Raleigh, N.C.
- North Dakota Department of Transportation, Bismarck, N.D.
- University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska
- Virginia Tech – Center for Innovative Technology, Herndon, Va.
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International forecasts that UAS-airspace integration efforts will create 100,000 jobs and add $82 billion to the U.S. economy in less than a decade.