Oklahoma selected for federal drone test program

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Federal transportation officials have announced 10 sites for a test program aimed at increasing government and commercial use of unmanned aircraft.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the winners Wednesday for the three-year drone program where states, local communities and tribes can devise their own trials.

The sites are located in Oklahoma, California, Nevada, North Dakota, North Carolina, Kansas, Alaska, Virginia, Tennessee and Florida. Transportation officials say 149 applications were received.

President Donald Trump signed a directive last year to establish the "innovation zones" that allow exemptions to some drone regulations, such as flying over people, nighttime flights and flights where the aircraft can't be seen by the operator.

The unmanned aircraft industry has pushed for relaxed restrictions. Officials say current regulations have limited drone use, forcing companies to test overseas.

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