WASHINGTON — Ten applicants have been selected to take part in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program, an initiative started by the U.S. Department of Transportation to address some of the most significant challenges to integrating drones into the national airspace.
According to the agency, the program is a coordinated effort to provide certainty and stability to communities, drone owners and the evolving drone industry — an industry that some estimates say will offer $82 billion of economic benefit within the next 10 years.
In early May, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced 10 winners from a list of 149 submitted applications. Because of strong interest from states, local governments, tribes and businesses, the agency approved a total of 10 applications instead of the five that were originally planned.
Announced last October, this initiative partners the Federal Aviation Administration with governments, which then partner with private sector participants to safely explore the further integration of drone operations.