Commercial Drone Testing Sites Chosen By FAA

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The Federal Aviation Administration has picked six states which will get to test unmanned aerial vehicles. The sites will begin testing how to integrate drones into U.S. airspace, sharing the skies with passenger planes.


And if you start hearing a buzzing noise in your community in the next few months, here's a possible reason why: You live in one of the six states chosen yesterday for testing unmanned drone aircrafts. Among the states selected by the Federal Aviation Administration is New York.

Ryan Delaney, of member station WRVO in upstate New York, reports that the potential for job creation and investment was behind that state's decision to submit a bid.

RYAN DELANEY, BYLINE: The FAA picked New York along with Alaska, Nevada, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia, to help it figure out how drones can safely take to the skies - along with passenger airplanes - by the end of 2015.

The drone industry is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs over the next decade, says Michael Toscano of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

MICHAEL TOSCANO: As this technology emerges - and there's going to be a plethora of different opportunities and utilization that we haven't even thought of yet, and so when you talk about job creation, it is going to create, I think, high-paying, good jobs.

DELANEY: In New York, whatever comes here will be well-appreciated. Forty defense companies and colleges teamed up to win the bid. It'll be headquartered at an old, upstate Air Force base with about 3,000 new jobs.

Rob Simpson, president of the group, says that's a big number in a part of the state that's struggled with high unemployment and population decline.

ROB SIMPSON: We're looking at this, instead, as an opportunity to create good jobs for people right here in central New York.

New York will work with the FAA over the next few months, with the goal of drones taking off by the summer.

For NPR News, I'm Ryan Delaney in Syracuse, N.Y.

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