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Salt Lake City – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently considering Utah as a location for one of six test sites it will establish in the coming year to develop regulatory standards to foster unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technology and operational procedures. The research done at the test sites will be used to allow routine UAS operations in the national airspace system (NAS). The FAA plans to announce its selections for test site locations by the end of December, 2013.
A UAS is made up of an unmanned aircraft and all of the associated support equipment, control station, data links, telemetry, communications and navigation equipment. Proposed uses for UAS range from agriculture and forestry to TV and film production. This technology is relatively new, which means all of the uses for UAS have yet to be discovered.
“Utah is uniquely positioned to be the preeminent UAS test site, capable of providing the FAA with the total environment with which to test and evaluate Unmanned Systems which will enable the FAA to safely and responsibly integrate them into the National Airspace System,” said Marshall Wright, aerospace and defense cluster director for GOED.
To competitively enter the UAS market, the state partnered with five Utah universities: Utah Valley University, University of Utah, Utah State University, Weber State University and Brigham Young University (BYU).