On Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced that 10 local, state and tribal governments will work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and companies in the private sector to further integrate drones into their operations.
The companies will develop "operational concepts" that includes testing package delivery, detect-and-avoid technologies, night operations, flights over people, the reliability and security of data links between pilot and aircraft, and others.
"Drones are a transformative technology and for them to truly become a part of everyday life the industry must work with state and local stakeholders who work and live where these drones will operate", said Greg McNeal, AirMap co-founder. Several incidents around major airports have involved drones getting close to aircraft. The program also "represents an acknowledgment by the FAA of the need to rethink the roles and responsibilities of state and local governments" in managing drones in their communities, he added.
Earl Lawrence, director of FAA's UAS Office, said at a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security that development of the remote ID requirement for drone aircraft is vital to greatly expanding the use of larger and heavier UAS craft, and the safe integration of drones into the US national airspace.
Earlier this month Intel posted a press release titled " Intel Unveils Drone Software Solutions that Enable Businesses to Unlock Potential of Aerial Data".
The 10 governments selected are: the cities of San Diego and Reno; the Virginia Tech Center for Innovative Technology and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks; the transportation departments of Kansas, North Carolina and North Dakota; Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; the Lee County Mosquito Control District in Ft.
The announcement is among the boldest from the government regarding drones. Other winners of the contract include ride services company Uber, micro chip maker Intel, delivery company FedEx, and others.
At least 200 companies spanning 149 applications are vying to be part of the program, a US official said. Interestingly enough, projects for the world's biggest non-military drone seller, DJI, and Amazon were rejected in the round that saw a total of 149 bids.
One of Flirtey's drones, delivering a 7-Eleven order.
"Drones are a part of our aviation future", Chao said at an event in Washington DC. They will deliver small aircraft parts in a designated area of the airport, inspect aircraft and provide emergency response, according to an airport statement.
Grace Simrall, the city's chief of civic innovation, and Fischer's spokespersons did not immediately respond to an email from Insider Louisville asking if their drone proposal would be shelved for the time being due to not being one of the FAA awardees. In North Carolina, drone delivery company Zipline will be able to move forward on medical delivery in the USA, already successfully proven in Rwanda and Tanzania.
The USDOT announced 10 test projects that will allow companies including Alphabet, FedEx, and Uber to test the unmanned aircrafts across the country.