Transportation Dept to Launch Pilot Program for UAS Integration in the Natl Airspace

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President Donald Trump has directed Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to launch a program that will assess and validate operations for unmanned aircraft systems alongside state and local governments in select areas.

The Transportation Department‘s UAS Integration Pilot Program will look to streamline and address challenges related to integrating drones into the national aerospace, the Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday.

FAA noted the program also aims to foster the use of unmanned technology in the economy and mitigate potential public safety and security risks.

The program can potentially open up to 100,000 jobs in the span of a decade as well as help USDOT and FAA establish a regulatory framework for low-altitude operations, determine strategies that will cater to local and national interests as well as boost communications among local, state and tribal jurisdictions, added FAA.

“This program supports the President’s commitment to foster technological innovation that will be a catalyst for ideas that have the potential to change our day-to-day lives,” said Chao.

“The program recognizes the importance of community participation in meaningful discussions about balancing local and national interests related to integrating unmanned aircraft,” noted FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

FAA said the pilot program will assess various operational concepts such as night operations, flights over people and beyond pilots’ line of sight, package delivery, detect-and-avoid-technologies, data links between aircraft and pilots as well as counter-UAS security missions.

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