In October 2017, a Presidential Memorandum was issued to the US Department of Transportation to select five states, municipalities or tribes to conduct advanced UAS operations that would yield sufficient data for rulemaking that could result in access to new technologies for the nation. Over 2800 interested parties rallied behind 149 applications. In May of this year, USDOT selected Kansas as one of their top picks to lead this effort and charged the Kansas Team to focus on two areas of operation first: Long Line Linear Infrastructure Inspection (i.e. highways, railroads, energy distribution lines, etc) and Precision Agriculture.
A crawl/walk/run (phased) approach will enable Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to conduct Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) flights within urban/complex environments. Three phases implemented via milestone-based standards and supported by data driven safety cases will prove equipment, operator, and mission reliability under Part 107 waivers. Team member experience, to include previously approved waivers/authorization, will help facilitate implementation of phases and progression milestones, as approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Increasingly sophisticated operations will ultimately enable safety mitigated, BLOS intermodal infrastructure inspection and precision agriculture operations within the state.
Ultimately this means that Kansas will: