Alert! Drones may be coming to a state near you! The Federal Aviation Administration has announced that six states will be used as test sites for drones.
Drone Testing Comes To Several States
The FAA evaluated climate, geography, ground infrastructure, safety, aviation experience and airspace use to determine the test sites for potentially commercial drones. A total of 24 states have submitted a proposal to join the program, but only six passed the test. The lucky states are Alaska, Nevada, New York, Virginia, North Dakota and Texas. These states will serve as a representative sample for further testing sites.
Each state’s testing site will examine a different use and administer a different test for the drones. The Alaska research plan includes creating a set of standards for automatic aircraft, state monitoring and navigation. In Nevada, the plan is to focused on certification of operation along with climate and geographic assessment. New York’s plan will assess how well drones will fly in congested areas. North Dakota’s plan is to focus on research and data about reliability and airworthiness. In Texas, the plan is to develop safety requirements for drones.
Research and data collection is expected to extend until 2017. Members of Congress expect that drone-related research will extend the job market and inspire more companies to take part in the program. An industry-commissioned study predicts that the drone market will establish 70,000 jobs in the first three years. Historically, drones are used strictly for the military, but farmers, businesses, governments and universities are starting to jump on the bandwagon as well.
Currently, the use of commercial drones is prohibited because of the hold on American airspace. However, according to the FAA, operational guidelines to use commercial drones could be in place by 2015, which means that up to 7,500 drones could potentially be flying over America within the next five years. The first testing site is expected to be up and running sometime this year.
Look out above! Although drones still have a long way to go before they become commercialized, their appearance in everyday life is approaching quickly. It will still be several years before these babies fly out into the real world, but until then, they will be tested all across America. Expect to see more test sites popping up and more news about the expansion of drones. They’re just getting started.