A network of drone R&D sites in the USA being led from Alaska is developing the technologies to enable the next generation of drone operations.

If you want to prove your drone can inspect a bridge in the middle of nowhere, fly hundreds of pounds of supplies into a remote airport, search for wildlife, inspect a pipeline, look for a missing boy or survey a wildfire, where do you go?

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) had already been testing drones for civil aviation use for 12 years when the FAA selected it as one of its UAS test sites in 2013. Recently, Alaska became the site for the first FAA-approved flight of a civil drone beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) without human observers on the ground.

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