The three-year-long program allows state and local governments, in addition to other federally established organizations, to test different use cases of drones in partnership with private businesses. Below are some of the use cases they are exploring and the groups.
The first tests will involve transporting aircraft components around the airport and into the neighboring 4,500-acre Shelby Farms Park in Memphis. Moreover, the airport will independently use the aircraft to inspect infrastructure.
The city of Reno, Nevada is working with drone startup Flirty to enlarge delivery trials of health supplies. The startup finished the initial urban house last-mile delivery in the USA in 2015 and has since been delivering defibrillators to 911 callers to help treat cardiac arrest at the Reno area. North Carolina’s DOT will work with Flytrex, an Israeli startup, to check a food drone shipping service. The company has analyzed this service at a couple of places in Iceland, also said it expects working with North Carolina will let it expand those evaluations to the United States. The media organization wants to expand its drone usage — it had been granted approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to test drones to capture footage for reporting back in 2015, and has gradually scaled up the program. Flying drones out an operator’s line of sight is an essential step toward drone use for last-mile deliveries along with several other use cases in agriculture and telecommunications.
The initiative is an essential step toward widespread business drone use. Once state and local governments observe the trials in actions and determine how they are able to safely regulate these a variety of use cases, the FAA and DOT could revise official regulations to place more power in the hands of the authorities. That could potentially include allowing drones to fly humans and outside an operators’ line of sight.
Meanwhile, NASA is functioning to construct an air traffic management system for unmanned aircraft and lately brought in Uber to tap into its flying car unit’s research in this field. An air traffic management system is an essential technology for law enforcement to have the ability to spot drones potentially run by hostile actors.
While both efforts will probably have to be completed prior to a complete revamp of drone regulations in the united states, this news indicates the government is actively trying to lay the groundwork for expanded industrial drone use at the not-too-distant future.