The first commercial drone was given permission to fly over U.S. land by The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday, June 10th. The AeroVironment manufactured drone will be operated by BP to fly over the North Slope in Alaska.
BP plans to use the drone to monitor maintenance activities to reduce time, increase safety and reliability in the delicate environment of the North Slope. The drone will provide 3D road mapping, pipeline inspection along with the ability to monitor wildlife and icecaps. The approved drone is a small, hand-launched aircraft that is approximately 4 ½ feet long and has a wingspan of 9 feet. It can fly for 3.5 hours and flies at less than 45 mph and between 200 and 400 feet off the ground.