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10 May 2018, 02:11 | Melanie Burgess
One of Flirtey’s drones delivering a 7 Eleven order
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Wednesday announced that Kansas has been selected as one of 10 participants in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program, an initiative aimed at shaping the future of drones in America.
A spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, another victor, saidApple Inc is among its partners, and Apple said it plans to use the testing program to improve Apple Maps by capturing aerial images. The MOAs will establish the parties' responsibilities, describe specific concepts of operations they will undertake, establish any data-sharing requirements, and specify that no federal funds will be spent on the program.
"The enthusiastic response to our request for applications demonstrated the many innovative technological and operational solutions already on the horizon", said USA transportation secretary Elaine Chao.
Other states participating in the program include Oklahoma, California, North Carolina, Alaska and Florida.
Launched last year, the new USA drone testing initiative puts the country on the map of countries with standardised drone regulation mechanisms, a sector where USA had been lagging for the past few years.
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That means San Diegans will be some of the first in the nation to experience drone-powered conveniences such as food delivery from Uber in minutes. Notably, Amazon.com Inc., a company that has both pushed for and worked on developing delivery drones, was not one of the recipients. "And, listen it is my personal belief that a key to solving urban mobility is flying burgers". The flights will begin in rural areas and the company will share data with the FAA before securing approvals to deliver to more urban locations in Reno.
Behind the scenes will be Qualcomm, AT&T, Intel and others that have promised to join forces to address the technical and logistical hurdles associated with operating a fleet of unmanned vehicles in cities. "The San Diego region possess a unique mix of environments from rural to urban with a mix of critical infrastructure, public utilities, tourist facilities, global border and coastal areas".
"We are looking forward to leading the way in Unmanned Aircraft Systems going forward and we are very happy to be a part of this program", said Governor Jeff Colyer.
While numerous details surrounding the UAS Integration Pilot Program are still unknown, city officials expect to learn how they can move forward at a Thursday morning briefing scheduled with the FAA.
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