Trump Administration Selects 10 Cities For Drone Testing Program

Expect to see more drones in the skies.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is moving forward with its plans to accelerate drone testing in the US — with help from technology companies including Alphabet, FedEx, CNN, and Intel.

US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced 10 test projects that will bring the unmanned aircraft into the skies.

Among those selected, three state transportation agencies, two US cities, and two universities will work with private companies on trials that will see drones used for tasks like package delivery, journalism, healthcare, and more.

Supporters of the administration’s pilot program say a key goal is to glean on-the-ground insights from the cooperation between federal, state and local governments so that such expanded operations can become a regular feature of American life.

The new government initiative, which was first announced by the Trump administration in October 2017 in a bid to accelerate the use of drones across a range of industries, will bring faster approval for drone trials that would ordinarily raise eyebrows among regulators.

Apparently the Trump administration, the DOT and the FAA expect the drone industry will create up to 100,000 jobs for citizens, and claim the potential economic benefit of UAVs to the US could equal up to $82 billion “in less than a decade.”

“We know our diverse new partners will help us address a broad range of complex drone integration challenges, ” said FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell. “The fields that could see immediate opportunities from the program include commerce, photography, emergency management, public safety, precision agriculture and infrastructure inspections.”

The 10 winners were picked from 149 proposals, according to the DOT. Their work is not done, which seems to be partly where there’s still a dearth of specifics for some of the programs. The agencies behind each selected idea will now have to submit “memorandums of agreement” to the FAA, which will lay out the full details of each trial.

Source: ZDNet