BENTON, KS – U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced that Kansas has been selected as one of ten participants in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program, an initiative aimed at shaping the future of drones in America.

“We are looking forward to helping today’s winners unlock the enormous potential of drone operations, which will create new services and jobs in their local communities,” said Secretary Chao.

“We are looking forward to leading the way in Unmanned Aircraft Systems going forward and we are very happy to be a part of this program,” said Governor Jeff Colyer. “UAS technology has the potential to do so many remarkable things and as the air capital of the world we feel it’s particularly appropriate for Kansas to be a part of this aviation of the future.”

Drone integration testing in Kansas will focus on search and rescue of stranded motorists, explore infrastructure inspection and remote safety assessment applications for transportation nationwide.

Lt. Governor Tracey Mann, who was on hand at the announcement in Benton, KS noted the successful use of UAS technology in agriculture, something very important to Kansans.

The UAS Integration Pilot Program is an opportunity for state, local, and tribal governments to partner with private sector entities, such as UAS operators or manufacturers, to accelerate safe UAS integration.

The Program is expected foster a meaningful dialogue on the balance between local and national interests related to UAS integration, and provide actionable information to the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding the expanded and universal integration of UAS into the National Airspace System.

More information related to the UAS Integration Pilot Program. can be found at https://www.faa.gov/uas/programs_partnerships/uas_integration_pilot_program/splash/.