Gov. Doug Burgum released the following statement today after the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) announced it has received a four-year waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) over people.
“This is fantastic news for North Dakota as we continue to strengthen our position as the nation’s proving ground for UAS,” Burgum said. “This waiver acknowledges the excellent work that NDDOT and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site are doing with public and private partners to ensure that unmanned aircraft are safety integrated into the national airspace, at the same time attracting new technology, jobs and businesses to our state.”
In May 2018, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced NDDOT as one of 10 participants selected nationwide for the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program. Burgum followed that action by proposing a statewide UAS infrastructure network to support UAS flights beyond visual line of sight. The state Legislature in April approved $28 million for the statewide network, as well as $2 million to support test site operations and $3 million to upgrade infrastructure at the Grand Sky business development park. With the funding, the state has invested approximately $77 million to advance UAS research and development in North Dakota and diversify the state’s economy.