Drone tests over Reno: Making crowded skies safer

Published: Apr. 25, 2019 at 5:16 PM PDT
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The use of unmaned aerial systems--drones--is exploding. They've become a must-have toy for the technologically inclined and all sorts of industries are finding them useful.

And--like self-driving cars--they are predicted to be part of our everyday lives in the future with uses ranging from.delivering lunch to bringing life saving defibrillators to heart attack victims ahead of paramedics.

All that traffic plus the drones of recreational users is going to make for some very crowded skies. It's a problem that's already concerning the Federal Aviation Administration.

But the industry is working on systems that will bring order and safety to all this traffic and Reno is about to play a part in their development.

The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems will be partnering with a major drone manufacturer, DJI, to test a system which tracks and identifies all drones in an area.

"We're doing everything possible to bring in what is available out there commercially to make the skies safer, to protect the public and to ensure that we do things according to FAA policy rules and regulations," says NIAS Executive Director Dr. Chris Walach, "This is also good for the education awareness of the public in general."

The testing won't take place in remote areas, but in Reno's urban center, a much more challenging environment where drones will be seen in increasing numbers in the years ahead.

Nevada is one of six FAA-designated drone testing centers. This project is being hailed as a development which will keep Reno on the forefront of unmanned aircraft development.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019