FAA Authorizes Commercial-Drone Testing

Most rather exotic technologies take a while to reach commercial maturation. Artificial intelligence and robotics might provide another example. Though robotics have been a mainstay of manufacturing for 40 years, the extension of more advanced forms of applied artificial intelligence only now seem to reaching a new stage of commercialization.

Google's self-driving cars are one example. A more important development is that the 

U.S, Federal Aviation Administration has selected a handful of universities and state agencies to operate sites for drone testing, in a step toward eventually integrating commercial unmanned aircraft into the U.S. aviation system.

That might begin to happen as early as 2015, some think. That's a huge step forward.

The six operators of test sites for unmanned aircraft include the University of Alaska, the State of Nevada, New York's Griffiss International Airport, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

None of those tests seem yet to involve commercial applications, instead focusing on how such systems might work, safely. The next big steps will involve apps using such drones.

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