Transportation Department Rolls Out New Program to Further Drive Drone Integration

A three-year Transportation Department-led drone integration pilot program came to a close last week—and the day after its completion, the agency launched a new initiative to further unravel what it deems “remaining challenges” keeping the unmanned aircraft systems from being fully fused into the national air space.

Created by a presidential memorandum, the UAS Integration Pilot Program, or IPP, began in October 2017 with the rollout of a competitive selection process involving 149 applicants. The ultimate intent of the program was to link up state, local and tribal governments with industry partners, and ultimately drive forward drone operations in certain areas of U.S. skies. The Federal Aviation Administration engaged in memoranda of agreement, or MOAs, with 10 of the governments to explore drone integration, though one dropped out in early 2019.