State Farm insurance company is seeking federal approval to test drones in evaluating property damage and responding to natural disasters.
The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reported that the Bloomington-based company has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation.
It asks for two exemptions to existing rules. One would allow it to operate unmanned aircraft at a private State Farm test site in central Illinois. A second would allow it to use them during actual catastrophes.
The testing, according to State Farm, “will help the company learn how to capture images and to determine the nature and extent of damage to policyholders’ property,” according to the 18-page application.
The company said it is particularly interested in using the drones, which would fly at altitudes no higher than 400 feet, to determine the extent of the damage to the roofs of structures.
State Farm said it wants to test the drones at a private company facility that include at least 100 acres or “uninhabited rural farmland.” And the company said establishing a test site within 50 miles of its corporate headquarters, explaining that it would save money because it the nearest Federal Aviation Administration-approved testing site is more than 700 miles away at Virginia Tech.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com