"Using the Puma's sensors, BP hopes to target maintenance activities on specific roads and infrastructure, to save time and support safety and operational reliability goals as well as protect the sensitive North Slope environment, it said."
Washington, June 11 - The national aviation authority of the US has authorised a commercial drone operation over land for the first time.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the decision Tuesday, as it said in a statement that it has given approval for oil company BP and unmanned aircraft systems ( UAS) manufacturer AeroVironment to fly a Puma AE drone for aerial surveys in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay area, the largest oilfield in the US, Xinhua reported.

The first flight of the Puma AE, a small, hand-launched aircraft that is about 4.5 feet (1.3 metres) long and has a wingspan of 9 feet (2.7 metres), was conducted Sunday to survey pipelines, roads and equipment at Prudhoe Bay for BP, the FAA said.

Using the Puma's sensors, BP hopes to target maintenance activities on specific roads and infrastructure, to save time and support safety and operational reliability goals as well as protect the sensitive North Slope environment, it said.

These surveys on Alaska's North Slope are another important step toward broader commercial use of unmanned aircraft, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. The technology is quickly changing, and the opportunities are growing.


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