Drone test flights over farmland this week were aimed at giving Kansas a leg up in the growing world of unmanned aircraft.
Director of Aviation at Kansas Department of Transportation Bob Brock tells KSAL News that the test flights near Gypsum will help transportation officials glean important field data in the UAS industry, proving the technology will enable drones to fly beyond the visual line of sight.
A tech leap – that Brock says will help first responders in search and rescue situations.
“The ability to send a drone 30-miles away gives our first responders an ability to save lives much more quickly than they could possibly do on foot,” he said.
KDOT was selected as one of 10 government organizations to test how drones can fly safely over people, at night and beyond visual line of sight, which will open new applications for drones in the future. Brock adds the tests are designed to help the FAA develop regulations for these activities.
“The most important thing is that Kansas is demonstrating leadership to be able to bring these technologies into Kansas so that we can fly a drone in airspace where manned aircraft are able to fly safely,” he said.
“Major corporations are looking at Kansas and at Salina specifically as a place to bring their companies in and create new jobs.”
The technology uses a camera, processor and computer vision software to see the airspace around the drone in real-time, enabling collision avoidance.