Drones That Monitor Mosquito Populations To Be Tested In US

ND selected for program aimed at expanding drone flights

The North Carolina Department of Transportation was one of the awardees, with the FAA describing their proposal as seeking "to test localized package delivery within a defined airspace by establishing drone delivery stations in local communities".

Among the drone companies involved are Fortem, which monitors drone flights and sells an interceptor that can snag unauthorized drones; AirMap, which helps manage drones flying through a complicated airspace; Zipline, which already uses drones to deliver blood to hospitals in Africa; Matternet, which delivers medical supplies to Swiss hospitals; and Flirtey, which can deliver packages like defibrillators.

The process required governmental agencies to choose up teams and seek the federal government's go-ahead to try out modes of operation that are usually off-limits to small-sized drones, such as flying beyond an operator's line of sight, operating after dark or flying over large groups of uninvolved people.

The application of the Memphis airport was also approved, which "focuses on the inspection of FedEx aircraft and autonomous operations that support airport operations such as perimeter security surveillance and package delivery".

Notable by their absence, however, are both Amazon, which arguably launched the whole drone craze with its Prime Air drone delivery project, and Chinese firm DJI, a leading maker of consumer drones.

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Uber is working with San Diego, which wants to create drone landing stations and ports, according to a fact sheet released by DOT.

"There's a lot of excitement", said Lisa Ellman, a partner in the Washington office of law firm Hogan Lovells, who represents companies in the industry.

Now Apple can use drones to acquire various data of urban areas and to improve the quality of "map" function.

"A lot can proceed under the FAA's current rules", in some cases with waivers from current regulatory constraints, she said.

At the same time, Ellman and others cautioned that the program was just a first step and the US regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration, still has to approve individual test plans.

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It has drone development centers and test sites in a variety of countries, including the U.S.as well as Britain, Austria, France and Israel.

Almost 150 applications were submitted, and Memphis is now one of 10 cities taking part in this two-year nationwide study. Data will be used by FAA to help expand drone flights and to also test how to balance national versus local government interests in the emerging industry. It began limited drone deliveries in the United Kingdom in 2016.

The application submitted by the administration of Mayor Greg Fischer proposed for automated drones equipped with cameras to fly to sites identified by the city's new ShotSpotter technology, giving police officers a fast assessment of what is happening at that scene. Reno hopes a single drone could save 28-34 lives a year by being able to deliver live-saving materials across the city, day and night.

The Native American tribe will test using drones to inspect crops, livestock herds, and infrastructure.

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