U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao has announced that the three-year Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP) has ended as of Oct. 25. Now, the program will move to a next phase, named Beyond. “The nine state, local and tribal governments that participated in the program have signed new agreements with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to continue to tackle remaining UAS integration challenges,” say a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announcement.
“The three years of information gathered under the drone Integration Pilot Program will be applied to a new initiative called BEYOND, which will further advance the safe integration of drones into our national space,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
“The IPP propelled the American drone industry forward, allowing for unprecedented expansions in testing and operations through innovative private-public partnerships across the country. Now, the BEYOND program will build upon this success, tackling the next big challenges facing drone integration. The Trump Administration remains committed to the safe and innovative development of drone technologies for the benefit of the American people,” said U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios.
“At the onset of the public health emergency, many of the IPP participants were able to pivot from their original missions to support the COVID-19 response and recovery, demonstrating the increasing value of drone operations in this new environment,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.
Eight of the nine participants selected for IPP will participate in BEYOND, including:
- Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority of Virginia
- Kansas Department of Transportation
- Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority
- North Carolina Department of Transportation
- North Dakota Department of Transportation
- City of Reno, Nevada
- University of Alaska-Fairbanks
The IPP moved drone delivery signficantly forward, among other projects. The Beyond program lists flight beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) as one of the primary objectives of this next phase: “Leveraging industry operations to better analyze and quantify the societal and economic benefits of UAS operations,” and “Focusing on community engagement efforts to collect, analyze and address community concerns,” are other goals for the program, the website states.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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