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10/01/2018 08:14 AM

North Dakota’s UAS Integration Pilot Program completes first public mission of flight over people in Fargo

FARGO, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) and Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) successfully completed its first public mission of North Dakota’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Integration Pilot Program in Fargo today.  Joining NDDOT in today’s mission was Governor Doug Burgum, Congressman Kevin Cramer, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios, FAA Regional Administrator for the Great Lakes Region Rebecca MacPherson, Executive Director for Northern Plains UAS Test Site Nick Flom, along with many other project partners.


North Dakota’s team conducted UAS (drone) operations with Media and Emergency Response crews in flight over people at a tailgating event in Fargodome’s west parking lot before the North Dakota State University football game on Saturday. The partners working on this mission with NDDOT and NPUASTS include: North Dakota State University, CNN, Botlink, Parazero, AirMap, Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Adams Communication & Engineering Technology (ACET) and others. The North Dakota team obtained waivers from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct the UAS flights at the Fargodome parking lot.

This is the first phase of North Dakota’s UAS IPP which is designed to help FAA create new regulations that will enable the safe and secure integration of UAS (drones) into national airspace systems.


“Safety is our number one priority and testing the safety of UAS systems to see how they can operate in different types of situations is the main goal of this program,” says NDDOT Director Tom Sorel.  

“This milestone was a collaborative effort between private industry, state government and federal government. We achieved an authorization that not only ensured the safety of other airplane traffic but also the safety of the people on the ground,” says Nick Flom, Executive Director, Northern Plains UAS Test Site.

In May, U.S. DOT selected the North Dakota Department of Transportation as one of 10 participants in the Federal Aviation Administration’s UAS Integration Pilot Program. NDDOT and NPUASTS are working together with partners and stakeholders to accomplish North Dakota’s pilot program mission to provide operational efficiencies, create new opportunities, build industry to grow the economy and reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

The three-year program gives state, local and tribal governments a chance to establish innovation zones for testing complex UAS operations.

The State of North Dakota is a leader in transportation and UAS advancement. The UAS Integration Pilot Program technology will enhance North Dakota in many areas such as pipeline or infrastructure inspections, traffic crash reconstruction, and emergency response during a life threatening event in rural areas, such as finding a missing person in the Badlands or on lakes and rivers.

For more information on North Dakota’s UAS Integration Pilot Program visit our webpage at www.dot.nd.gov/uas/

About North Dakota Department of Transportation

The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT), established in 1917, is an innovative and progressive organization with the mission to safely move people and goods. NDDOT strives to build and maintain an efficient transportation system of more than 8,518 miles of roadway and 4,858 bridges. Innovation and integration of the UAS pilot program is key in expanding NDDOT’s future vision for traffic safety, autonomous technology and partnerships. For more information visit: https://www.dot.nd.gov

About Northern Plains UAS Test Site

The Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) is one of seven Federal Aviation Administration UAS test sites in the nation. The mission of the test site is to collaborate with FAA and industry partners to develop, systems, rules and procedures to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System without negatively impacting existing general or commercial aviation. For more information, visit: http://www.npuasts.com/

About Botlink

Botlink was founded in Fargo, N.D. by military pilots and engineers with the intent to safely share the benefits of drones. Botlink is a cloud-based operations platform that links drones to industry in real time. The platform allows users to capture, process and deliver aerial imagery. Botlink also provides automated drone control and safety features allowing operators to remain safe and compliant with complex flight regulations. For more information visit: https://botlink.com/

About ParaZero

ParaZero (https://parazero.com/) was founded in 2014 to accomplish a vision to enable the drone industry to realize its greatest potential. ParaZero offers a smart and intuitive solution to enable drone industry growth by designing, developing and providing best-in-class autonomous safety systems for commercial drones.

About CNN

Cable News Network (CNN) is a global news channel and a subsidiary of AT&T's WarnerMedia. CNN was founded in 1980 as a 24-hour cable news channel. Upon its launch, CNN was the first television channel to provide 24-hour news coverage and was the first all-news television channel in the United States. For more information visit: https://www.cnn.com/

About AirMap

AirMap is the world’s leading airspace management platform for drones. Millions of drones, hundreds of industry developers, and hundreds of airspace managers and stakeholders rely on AirMap’s airspace intelligence and services to fly safely and communicate with others in low-altitude airspace. AirMap connects the majority of the world’s drones to airspace authorities through integrations with major drone manufacturers such as DJI, Intel, senseFly, Matternet, 3DR, DroneDeploy, and more. Deployed in the Czech Republic, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States, AirMap leads the industry in delivering technology solutions for Unmanned aerial system (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) and U-space to enable safe and responsible drone operations at scale. For more information visit: https://www.airmap.com/

About ACET

Adams Communications & Engineering Technology (ACET) is a Veteran-Owned Small Business, with multiple offices including those at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD; Reston, VA; and headquarters in Waldorf, MD. ACET provides system engineering and integration methods, techniques, and tools to help Intelligence, Defense, and Civil agencies build, integrate, operate, and maintain equipment, information, and systems. For more information visit: https://www.adamscomm.com/

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