The Federal Aviation Administration said it would work with two private U.S. companies to test commercial drones that can fly beyond an operator’s line of sight, a precursor to sophisticated drone operations such as package delivery, reports Reuters’ David Morgan.
The separate partnerships, with drone maker PrecisionHawk, which manufacturers The Lancaster UAS for precision agriculture, and BNSF Railway Co, a railroad operator owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, are a potential milestone in developing unmanned aircraft for a variety of business applications.
The U.S. aviation regulator also announced on Wednesday a partnership with cable television news network CNN to test news gathering in urban areas that have been largely off limits for commercial drones.
The FAA has been under intense pressure from industry and Congress to allow beyond-line-of-sight operations. It has heard from companies ranging from Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc, (as well as from drone industry advocates representing agricultural interests) which are developing drones that can deliver packages, to energy and agriculture firms that want to use the devices for inspecting crops or pipelines.
Reuters first reported last week that the FAA is in talks with drone manufacturers and operators about testing beyond-line-of-sight drone systems, and an announcement is expected as soon as this week.
Check out the full story from Morgan on Reuters.com.