Key Drone Safety Tests This Week

The trials in North Carolina will involve flying conventional aircraft close to drones to test how the pilots can safely respond.

A report by MIT Tech Review's Tom Simonite that is posted on the website of Precision Hawk, one of the companies involved, indicates key flight safety tests will being Nov. 23 in Butner, N.C., to help the Federal Aviation Administration determine whether to allow widespread use of commercial drones.

FAA draft rules for commercial drones weighing less than 55 pounds released in February 2015 bar flights beyond a pilot's line of sight, according to the report, where Simonite writes that FAA chose Precision Hawk because it is developing a technology to "have a drone automatically take action such as landing or turning around if it gets too close to a forbidden area such as an airport, or if a conventional aircraft suddenly appears." The system is dubbed LATAS, for low-altitude tracking and avoidance system.

The trials will involve flying conventional aircraft close to drones to test how the pilots can safely respond.

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