U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has announced the completion of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS/drone) Integration Pilot Program (IPP), a three-year initiative designed to test and evaluate the integration of drone operations into the national airspace system. IPP is followed by the BEYOND program, which officially launched last week. BEYOND is expected to focus on “repeatable, scalable and economically viable” beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations, analyzing and quantify the benefits of UAS operations and collecting, analyzing and addressing related community concerns.
“The IPP propelled the American drone industry forward, allowing for unprecedented expansions in testing and operations through innovative private-public partnerships across the country,” said U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios. “Now, the BEYOND program will build upon this success, tackling the next big challenges facing drone integration.
As previously reported by AVweb, IPP was announced in October 2017. Operating under existing FAA regulations, IPP participants conducted and gathered data on missions including package delivery, pipeline and power line inspection, flood damage assessment, cattle counting, 911 call response and aircraft inspection. According to the FAA, eight of the nine state, local and tribal governments that participated in IPP have signed on for BEYOND.