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The North Dakota Department of Transportation
(NDDOT) has submitted its declaration of intent to apply for a federal Unmanned
Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program offered
by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).
application process, the USDOT will choose at least five applications to
participate in the three-year program that will give state, local and tribal
governments a chance to establish innovation zones for testing complex UAS
operations. The federal program’s goal is to integrate unmanned aircraft into
local airspace and to accelerate the testing of drone or UAS operations.
State of North Dakota is a leader in UAS advancement, and NDDOT has strong
connections with private and public stakeholders,” says Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford,
who chairs the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority. “The Northern Plains
UAS Test Site in Grand Forks – one of only six test sites chosen by the FAA to
conduct research on how to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace --- also
has fostered collaborative relationships between government and the UAS
industry that strongly position North Dakota to participate in this pilot
partnerships include working with private companies, local and tribal
governments as well as law enforcement and emergency services agencies.
and integration of the UAS pilot program is key in expanding NDDOT’s future
vision for traffic safety, autonomous technology and partnerships,” states
NDDOT Director Tom Sorel. “We will work in collaboration with private and
public partners to solidify additional avenues of exploration for UAS use
throughout the state.”
federal program will be highly competitive as it is accepting applications from
across the United States. The application process
will take place in November and December with the pilot program set to be
established sometime in 2018.