This new initiative, under Trump-appointed transportation secretary Elaine Chao, is meant to speed up the integration of autonomous drones into the USA airspace by conducting tests at smaller areas around the country, in partnership with drone-technology companies.
Major tech and aerospace companies such as Amazon.com, Apple, Intel, Qualcomm and also air bus are faking to take part in a new slate of drone tests that the unitedstates is set to announce on Wednesday, folks knowledgeable about the matter told Reuters.
The contest drew 149 bids from locales looking to host flights at night, flights over people and other drone operations that United States rules prohibit.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao stated that "data gathered from these pilot projects will form the basis of a new regulatory framework to safely integrate drones into our national airspace".
Amazon, which has worked with the FAA on policy as it has tested drone technology around the world, said the fate of its applications was unfortunate, but it was focused on developing safe operations for drones.
The introduction of the test zones means faster approval for experiments that could lead to powerful use-cases of drones such as carrying medical supplies, inspecting building sites, and even the transportation of humans.
Limited drone applications are now legal in the country, but questions have surfaced around the role of city and state governments.
The communities hosting the pilot projects include San Diego, Raleigh, North Carolina, Topeka, Kansas, Reno, Nevada and Fairbanks, Alaska. In addition, the Memphis, Tennessee airport is another victor with a partner whose name you'll recognize when it comes to package delivery: FedEx.
"Data gathered from these pilot projects will form the basis of a new regulatory framework to safely integrate drones into our national airspace", said USA secretary of transportation, Elaine Chao.
Nevada-located Flirtey, a drone delivery company, claimed that it was an associate on 4 of the winning applications comprising Virginia Tech's.
AirMap, which offers a drone tracking service akin to an air-traffic control system, is a partner in six of the winning programs.
The US drone program has been created to assess how drones can be regulated and worked into US airspace without borking normal aviation; Amazon offered to help but didn't get the nod, which is kind of ironic given it probably flogs more drones than any other tech firm out there.
"I know it can't be before 2015, because that's the earliest we could get the rules from the FAA", Bezos said at the time.
The 10 winners were picked from 149 proposals. In the first three years of drone integration, it is predicted that more than 70,000 jobs will be created in the United States with an economic impact of more than $13.6 billion.
You could soon see more drones flying in the Mid-South.
The agency has said it hopes the proposed rules, laying out safety provisions when drones are flying above people and a requirement for them to transmit their identification, would be issued this year.