There’s an increasing buzz in the air as the number of potential commercial uses for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – commonly known as drones – continues to grow.
Agriculture has long been considered one of the top markets for UAV use. It’s certainly one of the top priorities in the first Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) test site for UAV research now underway in North Dakota. The site, which became operational more than 2 ½ months ahead of schedule, is the first of six test sites across the U.S. chosen by FAA for UAV research. Their goals – to show that UAVs can check soil quality and crop status as a precision agriculture tool and to collect safety-related operational data needed to help integrate UAVs into U.S. airspace.
“These data will lay the groundwork for reducing risks and ensuring continued safe operations of UAVs,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, in a statement as the testing began in late April. “We believe the test site programs will be extremely valuable to integrating unmanned aircraft and fostering America’s leadership in advancing this technology.”