Chao names participants selected for drone pilot program

Chao names participants selected for drone pilot program
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Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoMcConnell: I won't be intimidated by protesters Protesters confront McConnell leaving Kentucky restaurant The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Wild night of primaries reshapes 2018 midterms MORE on Wednesday announced 10 locations for the administration’s drone operations pilot program.

The Department of Transportation said it received 149 applications for its Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program and chose ten selectees that include city governments, state transportation departments and one Native American tribe.

The North Carolina, North Dakota, and Kansas transportation departments were among those chosen, in addition to the cities of Reno, Nev., and San Diego.

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“Data gathered from these pilot projects will form the basis of a new regulatory framework to safely integrate drones into our national airspace,” Chao said in a statement.

“The enthusiastic response to our request for applications demonstrated the many innovative technological and operational solutions already on the horizon.”

The Transportation Department also tapped the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Virginia Tech’s Center for Innovative Technology, the Lee County Mosquito Control District in Florida, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority in Tennesse to participate.

The participants will work with partners and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on unmanned operations including package drop-offs, flights outside the aircraft operator’s line of sight and over human beings, the Transportation Department said.

Lawmakers in attendance for Chao’s announcement included Sens. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThe farm bill gives Congress a chance to act on the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act GOP’s midterm strategy takes shape Battle of the billionaires drives Nevada contest MORE (R-Nev.), John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenOvernight Energy: Trump Cabinet officials head west | Zinke says California fires are not 'a debate about climate change' | Perry tours North Dakota coal mine | EPA chief meets industry leaders in Iowa to discuss ethanol mandate 74 protesters charged at Capitol in protest of Kavanaugh Big Oil’s carbon capture tax credit betrayal MORE (R-N.D.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampDems to challenge Kavanaugh for White House records To solve the southern border crisis, look past the border The Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) MORE (D-N.D.); and Reps. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerOvernight Health Care: Supreme Court nomination reignites abortion fight in states | Trump urges Sessions to sue opioid makers | FDA approves first generic version of EpiPen Vulnerable Dem Sen. Heitkamp hits opponent on ObamaCare repeal votes Overnight Energy: Trump Cabinet officials head west | Zinke says California fires are not 'a debate about climate change' | Perry tours North Dakota coal mine | EPA chief meets industry leaders in Iowa to discuss ethanol mandate MORE (R-N.D.) and Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockElection Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket Closing diversity gaps in patenting is essential to innovation economy MORE (R-Va.).

The Trump administration launched the program in November to help assimilate unmanned aircraft operations into the national airspace. The information collected by those taking part in the program is meant to help the Transportation Department create rules addressing drone operations.