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City to Explore Drone Use in FAA Pilot Program

City to Explore Drone Use in FAA Pilot Program

The City is partnering with Stanford Blood Center and Matternet, an autonomous drone manufacturer to explore the possibility of using unmanned drones for the delivery of blood samples to Stanford Hospital. The Federal Aviation Administration is soliciting a limited number of pilot projects to help facilitate safe commercial uses for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones with local or state agencies. A second concept, from German UAS manufacturer Multirotor, proposes to explore the uses of drones at the Palo Alto Airport for operations such as runway inspections or monitoring of potential wildlife interference. Additional potential City uses for drones could include public safety search operations and utility infrastructure inspections.

Any proposed drone operation raises numerous issues that would need to be identified and addressed including safety, environmental, noise, privacy and community support for such a use. The FAA will be selecting five applications nationwide to proceed with project development, and if the City is selected to proceed with a formal agreement, staff would seek City Council approval, conduct any necessary environmental review and solicit extensive community feedback. There is no cost to the City for this program, and the City can also withdraw from the pilot program at any time. To read the informational report, click here. For questions or feedback, send an email to: dronepilotprogram@cityofpaloalto.org


Last Updated: December 11, 2017