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What’s Your Take On Drone Use In Kansas? KDOT Wants To Know

Kansas Farm Bureau
File photo

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) is asking the public for feedback on the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, in Kansas airspace.

KDOT’s Division of Aviation has a 10-question online survey about drone use and areas of concern like personal privacy or safety. The survey is open until Feb. 28.

The agency and its partners are interested to find out if there is support for using drones in firefighting, agriculture, law enforcement or other activities. They also want to know Kansans’ experience with drones and knowledge of FAA regulations.

KDOT is leading one of 10 regional efforts working to establish rules and new technologies as drones integrate into the national airspace system.

The agency established the Kansas Unmanned Aerial Systems Integration Pilot Program in 2017 to test advanced drone operations. The Kansas team is focused on efforts involving long line infrastructure inspections for highways, railroads and energy distribution lines, etc. The program is also looking into precision agriculture practices.

Wichita State University, Kansas State University and the University of Kansas along with nearly two dozen companies such as Westar Energy and Garmin are involved with the program.

The Kansas UAS Joint Task Force is also part of the effort. Organizational members include the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Labor, Department of Parks & Wildlife, Kansas Sheriff's Association, Kansas Farm Bureau and the Secretary of State’s office.

KDOT is currently conducting UAS test flights in the airspace north of Gypsum and over partner right-of-way infrastructure and partner-owned land. These operations will support a safety case that will include “beyond visual line of sight” operations.

To take the survey, visit https://www.ippkansas.org/ks-uas-ipp-survey.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Copyright 2019 KMUW | NPR for Wichita

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.