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 ChaoDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights The Hill's Morning Report - What is Trump's next move on Iran? House committee launches investigation into Transportation Secretary Chao 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 HoevenBottom Line Poll: McConnell is most unpopular senator McConnell ups pressure on White House to get a budget deal MORE (R-N.D.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states Pence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa MORE (D-N.D.); and Reps. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerPrimary challenges show potential cracks in Trump's GOP Castro, Steyer join pledge opposing the Keystone XL pipeline EPA proposes rolling back states' authority over pipeline projects MORE (R-N.D.) and Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockGun debate raises stakes in battle for Virginia legislature Progressives face steep odds in ousting incumbent Democrats K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers 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.