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 campaign launches Asian Pacific Americans coalition Bottom line Democrats to probe Trump's replacement of top Transportation Dept. watchdog 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 HoevenBipartisan senators seek funding for pork producers forced to euthanize livestock House Republicans threaten pushback on Saudi Arabia amid oil market slump Overnight Energy: Trump rollback of Obama mileage standards faces court challenges | Court strikes down EPA suspension of Obama greenhouse gas rule | Trump floats cutting domestic oil production MORE (R-N.D.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn Heitkamp70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA MORE (D-N.D.); and Reps. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerTrump tries to soothe anxious GOP senators Trump cites 'Obamagate' in urging GOP to get 'tough' on Democrats Obama tweets 'vote' after Trump promotes 'Obamagate' MORE (R-N.D.) and Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockLive coverage: House holds third day of public impeachment hearings Gun debate raises stakes in battle for Virginia legislature Progressives face steep odds in ousting incumbent Democrats 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.