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The first commercial drone test site is now operational

22
Apr
2014

The first of six testing flights for commercial drones is officially operational. Today, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that a site in North Dakota has been certified to begin tests with the Draganflyer X4ES, a roughly 3-foot-wide, 5-pound quadcopter that comes equipped with a camera. In the long term, the site will help the FAA develop rules for small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which Congress has said must be in place by 2015. Test site operators will be putting the drone to work in North Dakota State Universitys agriculture research division, where they hope to prove it can effectively check soil quality and the status of crops — agriculture is one of the most promising areas for small commercial drones, since they can cheaply capture and analyze footage of fields from overhead.

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