Virginia Tech chosen as testing site for drones

Posted at 6:18 PM, Dec 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-30 18:51:37-05

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WTVR) — The Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday that Virginia Tech would serve as a new host site for testing drones.

The university is one of six other sites to develop and test drones. The FAA says the testing is necessary in order to eventually have unmanned drones safely fly.

Virginia Tech drone

Virginia Tech is one of six public entities chosen to develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the unmanned aircraft’s march into U.S. skies.

Other public entities that were chosen as testing sites include:

  • University of Alaska
  • State of Nevada
  • New York’s Griffiss International Airport
  • North Dakota Department of Commerce
  • Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi

So far, drones have mostly been used by the military. Farmers and businesses are beginning to consider the usage of drones, too, including Amazon.

Universities are beginning to expand drone research programs as well.

The FAA currently does not allow commercial usage of drones, but is working toward making that happen by the end of 2015. However, speculators predict it may take longer.

In 2012 the Federal Aviation Administration released a list of 63 authorized drone launch sites in 20 states, including spots in Virginia.

The information was released after the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.