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Chao names participants selected for drone pilot program

Chao names participants selected for drone pilot program
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Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine ChaoTop Democrat: FCC actions are a 'potential setback' to autonomous vehicles The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - US vaccine effort takes hit with Johnson & Johnson pause Gingrich on Trump-McConnell feud: GOP 'better off' focusing on Democrats 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 HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R-Nev.), John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenGOP sees immigration as path to regain power The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults now eligible for COVID vaccines The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults can get vaccine; decision Friday on J&J vax MORE (R-N.D.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampEffective and profitable climate solutions are within the nation's farms and forests Bill Maher blasts removal of journalist at Teen Vogue Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives MORE (D-N.D.); and Reps. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerSenate passes bipartisan B water infrastructure bill Biden administration faces big decision on whether to wade into Dakota Access fight OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Obama marine monument designation | Interior reverses course on tribal ownership of portion of Missouri river | White House climate adviser meets with oil and gas companies MORE (R-N.D.) and Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockInfluential Republicans threaten to form new party GOP braces for wild week with momentous vote Likely Cheney successor appears on Bannon show to tout GOP unity 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.