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U.S. KDOT completes successful drone trial for disaster response and infrastructure inspections

By Chris Stonor

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) says its Division of Aviation completed a field exercise in Rossville to demonstrate the capabilities of drones being used for both disaster response and infrastructure inspections, reports wibw.com. According to KDOT, “Bridge inspectors, public safety officials, universities and UAS manufacturers worked together with the department team members on the exercise.”

The Department went on to say that the Capabilities Exercise showed how drones can be used for many purposes. These include, saving time and money for transportation infrastructure inspections;allowing state agencies to examine disaster sites in emergency response situations;and generally expanding economic opportunities through transportation using innovative technologies. Kansas Transportation Secretary, Julie Lorenz, said, “Safety is our top priority and we seek every opportunity to employ better transportation solutions for citizens across our state.”

In October 2017, KDOT was chosen as one of nine participants in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program. This three-year program ended on October 25th, but the FAA have decided to continue the partnerships for further drone trials and research with the BEYOND program. It said it is one of eight participants to continue the effort.

Read Recent UAMN article about BEYOND

New drone program BEYOND announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary after previous UAS one ends 

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, commented, “KDOT was an important partner in the first UAS IPP. I look forward to witnessing the future accomplishments of our state in this new program and will continue advocating at the federal level on their behalf.”

The drone demonstration in Rossville was one of its first events to happen as part of BEYOND under the auspice of U.S Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Bob Brock, KDOT Director of Aviation, commented, “We appreciate Secretary Chao’s confidence in our team and our exercise last week demonstrates our enthusiasm for achieving the goals of this program.”

KDOT said there are 44 state agency, university and technology partners have been selected to join its team in their efforts in the BEYOND program.

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(News Source: https://www.wibw.com)

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