Feds OK Commercial Drone Flights Over Land
'Puma' will keep watch over BP's pipelines in Alaska
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2014 8:02 PM CDT
An AeroVironment Puma drone getting launched.   (AP Photo/BP Alaska)

(Newser) – The aircraft now keeping an eye on BP's pipelines near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, has an unusual way of taking off: It gets thrown. That's because it's a drone called Puma, and it happens to be the first drone approved for commercial flights over land in the US, reports AP. Maker AeroVironment and BP got FAA approval to make use of the craft's 3D cameras to monitor pipelines, roads, and equipment in remote areas. The flights began on Sunday.

AeroVironment designed the drone for military use, but with the campaigns in Iraq and now Afghanistan winding down, the company is exploring commercial options. The FAA approval is a milestone not just for the firm but for the industry, says the LA Times. AeroVironment signed a five-year contract with BP, and it's a safe bet that far more commercial drones will be in the air by the time it runs out. (Though probably not for your Amazon purchases just yet.)

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Showing 3 of 31 comments
Chris Farley
Jun 12, 2014 11:00 AM CDT
The goverment has been allowing Cornel University and a military contractor test these things over the sky's of upstate NY for a few years now.
Mr_Joshua
Jun 11, 2014 8:18 AM CDT
Wanted: Drone thrower. Must have a good right arm (or left, only one required), and previous javelin experience will help secure this great position. Good remuneration and an outdoor working environment for the successful candidate. And you can call me..............Mr Joshua
SPHeroid
Jun 11, 2014 12:46 AM CDT
With or without legal sanction, these thing are coming and there is nothing that can be done to stop it..... Well you could pull out your shotgun...Good luck with that.....