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BP secure the first license for its AeroVironment Puma AE drone

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued the very first license to fly commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over U.S. land. However, within the next five years, the FAA reckons that there will be over 7,000 commercial drones flying the friendly skies.
 
The first license was issued to BP, which will use the AeroVironment RQ-20A Puma AE to “survey BP pipelines, roads and equipment” in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The Puma AE is a hand-launched drone that was originally designed for military applications, but is now also being used in the private sector. The 13.5-pound drone has a length of 4.6 feet and a wingspan of 9.2 feet. In can travel at up to 51 mph, has an operating altitude of 500 feet, and can stay aloft for 3.5+ hours.

 
"These surveys on Alaska's North Slope are another important step toward broader commercial use of unmanned aircraft," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "The technology is quickly changing, and the opportunities are growing."
 
The FAA first selected six aerial done test locations back in December, and the first commercial test site opened in North Dakota in late April. But while things are just getting started with regards to commercial licensing, it may be a while before Amazon starts dropping packages off at your doorstep with UAVs.

Sources: Federal Aviation Administration, AP/Yahoo! News





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