Trump administration selects Fort Myers for new drone testing

The Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that Fort Myers will be one of 10 selected cities for new drone testing.

“Data gathered from these pilot projects will form the basis of a new regulatory framework to safely integrate drones into our national airspace,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

The 10 selected areas are:

  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Durant, OK
  • City of San Diego, CA
  • Virginia Tech – Center for Innovative Technology, Herndon, VA
  • Kansas Department of Transportation, Topeka, KS
  • Lee County Mosquito Control District, Ft. Myers, FL
  • Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, Memphis, TN
  • North Carolina Department of Transportation, Raleigh, NC
  • North Dakota Department of Transportation, Bismarck, ND
  • City of Reno, NV
  • University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK

The White House announced the program last October to test, “concepts, including night operations, flights over people and beyond the pilot’s line of sight, package delivery, detect-and-avoid technologies and the reliability and security of data links between pilot and aircraft,” according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Integrating drone technology has the potential to create up to 100,000 new jobs in the next ten years, according to the DOT.

It is unclear at this time whether drone regulations will change for all people who currently operate them in Lee County, however the DOT says,”fields that could see immediate opportunities from the program include commerce, photography, emergency management, public safety, precision agriculture and infrastructure inspections.”

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