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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given the go-ahead to a team from the North Dakota Department of Commerce to begin research using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) at its Northern Plains test site. It’s the first of six congressionally-mandated sites announced in December to go operational.
FAA said the main goal of this site’s initial operations is to show that UAS, or drones, can check soil quality and the status of crops in support of North Dakota State University/Extension Service precision agriculture research studies.
Precision agriculture is one of many industries that represent areas for significant economic opportunity and UAS-industry expansion, FAA said. Also, the test site will collect safety-related operational data needed for UAS airspace integration.