Virginia Tech, one of the winners, said that Alphabet's Project Wing, AT&T Inc, Intel Corp, Airbus SE and Dominion Energy Inc are among the partners for its pilot programme that will explore package delivery, emergency management and infrastructure inspection. An application that would have seen Amazon deliver goods by drone to shoppers in New York City was also declined, a person familiar with the matter said.
The unmanned aircraft industry has pushed for relaxed restrictions, and the Trump administration has said current regulations have limited drone use, forcing companies to test overseas. She, also, did not rule out Amazon's project receiving approval citing a rigorous process.
The North Carolina, North Dakota, and Kansas transportation departments were among those chosen, in addition to the cities of Reno, Nev., and San Diego.
The wide interest in the USA initiative, launched by President Donald Trump previous year, underscores the desire of a broad range of companies to have a say in how the fledgling industry is regulated and ultimately win authority to operate drones for purposes ranging from package delivery to crop inspection. Another partner is General Electric Co, he said. One rule submitted would allow drones to fly over people while another proposal submitted would allow for remote identification and tracking of unmanned aircraft in flight. After both are formally proposed, it could take months before they are finalized.
A total of149 bids were drawn from locales looking to host flights at night, flights over people and other drone operations that are now prohibited under USA regulations. The data collected from these operations will help the USDOT and the FAA craft new enabling rules that allow more complex low-altitude operations, identify ways to balance local and national interests related to UAS integration, improve communications with local, state and tribal jurisdictions, address security and privacy risks, and accelerate the approval of operations that now require special authorizations.
Apple is one of a number of big companies seeking permission to be part of a new US drone testing program, launched by President Donald Trump a year ago.