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FAA approves first commercial overland UAV flights

According to the FAA, this is the first time permission has been given for a commercial drone to fly over land in the United States.

The extremely tight regulations that ban commercial use of drones in the United States remain in force for now, but the FAA has granted BP a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization that will allow the energy corporation to use the Puma to survey roads, pipelines, and other equipment at Prudhoe Bay, which is located on the north coast of Alaska and is the largest US oilfield.

The first flight of the 4.5-ft (1.3-m) long, hand-launched Puma took place on Sunday. With its 9 ft (2.7 m) wingspan and weighing 13 lb (5.9 kg), the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is equipped with sensors that BP will use to organize maintenance schedules on roads and infrastructure while reducing impact on the environment.

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