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State Farm gets approved to fly drones for assessing Hurricane Florence damage

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“This is a pivotal moment that demonstrates the value of a risk-based safety case development process,” said MAAP director Mark Blanks. “Drone technology has tremendous potential to serve the public, but before we can harness that capability we need to demonstrate conclusively that ambitious operations can be done safely. This waiver, and the volume of research that backs it up, shows that this approach works.”

Hurricane Florence damage can be seen in this USA Today video:

Out of 150 applicants, State Farm is the only insurance company to be approved to participate in the FAA’s test program

Currently, the FAA restricts drone pilots from flying over people and BVLOS without approval, but State Farm is one of ten approved applicants to participate in the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP). The FAA picked companies like Uber and State Farm to test operational concepts such as night flights, flights over people, drone-assisted package deliveries and BVLOS flights.

The future of BVLOS flights

With the approval of State Farm’s BVLOS flights over people, drone technology will be showcased and examined for its potential in serving the public. The success of State Farm’s damage assessments via drone is set to help determine future UAV laws.

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