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 ChaoTrump administration cancels 9M for high-speed rail in California US halts flights to Venezuela Melania Trump expands mission of 'Be Best' on its one-year anniversary 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 HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (R-Nev.), John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenSenators introduce bill to prevent border agency from selling personal data Overnight Energy: Bipartisan Senate group seeks more funding for carbon capture technology | Dems want documents on Interior pick's lobbying work | Officials push to produce more electric vehicle batteries in US Officials, automakers aim to produce more electric vehicle batteries in US: report MORE (R-N.D.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOn The Money: Stocks sink on Trump tariff threat | GOP caught off guard by new trade turmoil | Federal deficit grew 38 percent this fiscal year | Banks avoid taking position in Trump, Dem subpoena fight Fight over Trump's new NAFTA hits key stretch Former senators launching effort to help Dems win rural votes MORE (D-N.D.); and Reps. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerTrump's immigration push faces Capitol Hill buzzsaw Lawmakers introduce legislation to improve cyber workforce funding Kushner, Miller talk immigration at Senate GOP lunch MORE (R-N.D.) and Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockGOP lawmaker introduces bill to stop revolving door Ex-lawmakers face new scrutiny over lobbying Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign 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.