Amazon Left Out Of Government Drone Test Program

Apple to Participate in Government Drone Testing Program

Apple to Participate in Government Drone Testing Program

Cupertino was among a handful of companies seeking permission to carry out experimental drone flights beyond the limits now enforced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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.

While Apple got permission for its drone testing ambitions, other tech firms weren't so lucky.

Once the winners are announced, "the FAA will be reaching out to other applicants, as well as interested state and local authorities, to provide additional information on how to operationalize their proposed projects", Lawrence said in his remarks.

"We are looking forward to helping today's winners unlock the enormous potential of drone operations, which will create new services and jobs in their local communities", said United States Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.

The US Integration Pilot Program will collect data on drone usage and pave the way for new regulations. Flirtey said in a statement that it and government partners "will now have access to fast-tracked regulatory approvals as they work to expand lifesaving drone delivery operations".

The contest drew 149 bids from locales looking to host flights at night, flights over people and other drone operations that US rules prohibit.

The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, in partnership with FedEx and others, was announced Wednesday as one of 10 federal partners in a Trump administration push to advance America's use of unmanned aircraft systems. "This is an important first step in the process of drone integration".

Notable absentees from the approved list of 10 pilots were Amazon, which applied for a project to deliver goods within New York City, and the world's largest non-military drone manufacturer, DJI.

Over the next two and a half years, the awardees will collect a wide variety of drone data, helping the FAA "craft new enabling rules that allow more complex low-altitude operations, identify ways to balance local and national interests related to UAS integration, improve communications with local, state and tribal jurisdictions, address security and privacy risks, and accelerate the approval of operations that now require special authorizations".

Winner Virginia Tech said that Alphabet's Project Wing, AT&T Inc, Intel, Airbus and Dominion Energy Inc are among the partners for its pilot program that will explore emergency management, package delivery and infrastructure inspection.

The start by the USA government past year which will allow for a larger scale of testing.

Under current regulations, small drones must fly within 400 feet of the ground, operate during the day and stay within sight of their operators.

One would allow drones to fly over people while another proposal submitted would allow for remote identification and tracking of unmanned aircraft in flight. Operations will include (beyond visual line of sight), night and over people.

FAA also has sent two proposed regulations for expanding drone flight to the White House for review, Chao said. After both are formally proposed, it could take months before they are finalized.

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