Economy

Alphabet, Intel, FedEx, AT&T among drone pilot winners: universities

Alphabet, Intel, FedEx, AT&T among drone pilot winners: universities

AirMap, which offers a drone tracking service akin to an air-traffic control system, is a partner in six of the winning programs.

Flirtey, which has tested a variety of ways to deliver goods using small drones, is part of a test program operated by Reno, Nevada, that is one of the 10 winners, Senator Dean Heller, a Nevada Republican, said in a press release Tuesday.

The city will operate drones within airspace including the Liberty Bowl.

According to the US DOT, areas that could experience opportunities are commerce, photography, public safety, and infrastructure inspections.

Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, Memphis, Tenn. Memphis International is the hub for operations by FedEx, which is a partner in the program.

"Being done in Memphis, it will be done with the help of FedEx and will absolutely, positively be done right", Cohen said.

"This announcement proves San Diego companies, organizations, academics, government and nonprofits are exceptionally well-positioned to advance the adoption into the national airspace", said Lauree Sahba, chief operating officer for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. They will get special permission to test drone applications that are now banned or require a hard to attain waiver, such as flying unmanned systems over people, beyond line of sight and at night.

"The pilot program is really going to give us a lot of data and there's going to be a lot more community engagement so that we really get people comfortable with expanding the bounds of UAS operations", he said.

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The agency has said it hopes the proposed rules, laying out safety provisions when drones are flying above people and a requirement for them to transmit their identification, would be issued this year.

FedEx, GE and Intel drones will inspect aircraft and runways at Memphis International Airport (coincidentally FedEx's US operations hub).

The North Dakota DOT listed several possible drone activities under the program, including reconstructing traffic crashes, expediting emergency responses during floods and inspecting pipelines.

Cohen added, "This is a major development for Memphis and puts us on the map as a major player in the nascent drone industry".

Virginia Tech Center for Innovative Technology - Herndon, Va. "The economic impact of this announcement can not be overstated, and I congratulate the airport authority and its partners for this major achievement". As of May 4, there were 1.1 million registered drones in the USA and more than 90,000 registered drone operators, she said.

These projects will be collecting data for the next two and a half years that will be used to inform the FAA's next set of drone regulations that will help to "safely integrate drones into our national airspace." said Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said when announcing the winners. In 2016, the UAS test site's partnership with Google's parent company Alphabet X's Project Wing tested its first burrito drone delivery.

Their main priorities will include night operations, package delivery, flights over people and long distance flights beyond the pilot's line of sight. Kansas Secretary of Transportation Richard Carlson said the state's DOT planned to test drones for "infrastructure inspections, search and rescue and remote area assessments".