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North Dakota chosen as U.S. drone test site


The Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday that North Dakota will be one of six U.S. research sites to develop drones.

It's no surprise that Minnesota's neighbor was chosen. The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks has been operating drones since 2005 and is leading the country in drone research. UND is already assisting the FAA in developing guidelines for domestic, non-military drones.

The Associated Press reports the state has already committed $5 million to the project and named a former North Dakota Air National Guard Commander as its test site director.

North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley told Minnesota Public Radio that the test site will attract companies and bring more jobs to the state.

Although drones have mainly been used by the military, the FAA projects some 7,500 commercial drones could be off the ground within five years of getting access to American airspace, the Associated Press says.

The other approved sites include Alaska, Nevada, New York, Texas and Virginia.

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