The U.S. Department of Transportation, which is reviewing these restrictions, recently awarded Kansas and nine other state lead teams the ability to expand testing of beyond visual line of sight operations. Black & Veatch will help test the drones beyond the operator’s sight – something now barred by the FAA, as is using unmanned aircraft higher than 400 feet, at night or above people. While drones have the capability for autonomous flight and can be programmed for miles in a linear path, Kansas and other pilot sites could serve as case studies for future FAA rules nationwide, perhaps allowing jurisdictions to integrate their own drone operations into the National Airspace System (NAS). The KDoT team, with Black & Veatch, will operate drones beyond sight lines in multiple areas throughout the state initially focusing on infrastructure inspection and precision agriculture. Precision agriculture use, for example, could benefit a grower’s quest for cost-containment through pinpoint use of seeds, pesticides and fertilizer. A drone’s promise of giving a bird’s eye view of any problematic area of cropland – and getting UAS-delivered treatment for it – comes at a time when producers face mounting pressures to meet food demand. Other benefits of UAS use cases may include high-definition images or video of assets, increased frequency of inspections, more data that can be analyzed for the clearest possible picture of risk management, and the safety that comes with deploying remote-controlled machines instead of putting humans in harm’s way. “As drones become more mainstream with their versatility, these projects in Kansas and elsewhere are key in testing all applications of these unmanned aircraft systems and, if successful, may ease airspace rules for everyone’s betterment,” said Jamare Bates, an FAA-certified remote unmanned aircraft vehicle pilot who heads Black & Veatch’s UAS operations. Black & Veatch has performed many successful visual-line-of-sight flights over dams, transmission lines, solar fields and streams as part of a stream-restoration project. The global engineering company also has used drones to help monitor progress on construction of a Midwest wastewater treatment plant. Editor’s Note: Black & Veatch is a proven industry leader in applying drone technology. In 2015, the company was recognized on the InformationWeek Elite 100 list of innovative users of business technology for using drones to reduce risks and costs for equipment tower inspections. This application was also recognized as one of the 20 Great Ideas for 2015 by the publication’s editors. The U.S. Department of Transportation and its Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates the National Airspace System, selected the 10 finalists for the pilot programs from 149 proposals. For more details about the FAA pilot programs, see: www.faa.gov/uas/programs_partnerships/integration_pilot_program/ Media Contact Information: JIM SUHR | +1 913-458-6995 P | +1 314-422-6927 M | SuhrJ@BV.com 24-HOUR MEDIA HOTLINE | +1 866-496-9149 0 About Black & Veatch Black & Veatch is an employee-owned, global leader in building critical human infrastructure in Energy, Water, Telecommunications and Government Services. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries through consulting, engineering, construction, operations and program management. Our revenues in 2018 were US$3.5 billion. Follow us on www.bv.com and in social media. Related Insights The Evolution of Project Delivery: The How and Why There are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks every year in the United States, and those ruptures waste between 14 percent and 18 percent of the nation's drinking water. Aging infrastructure is primarily to blame, as an estimated 40 percent of U.S. water and wastewater pipes are beyond their life expectancy, notes a recent article in WaterWorld. The article goes on to say that half of forecasted capital expenditures by water providers will cover new installation and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure The Data to Water Connection The annual Strategic Directions Report series offers analysis and insights into key issues and trends facing the smart cities and utilities, electric, natural gas, and water utility sectors. Water Meets "New Energy": Surging Renewables Has Utilities Eyeing Alternative Power Sources As the nexus of water and "new energy" becomes more common in the water sector's lexicon, Black & Veatch's 2019 Strategic Directions: Water Report survey shows that water and wastewater plant operators are embracing "master plans" meant to optimize their energy use. Amid Climate Change Worries, the Question: What to do With Too Much Water? With Grid Modernization, Utilities Poised For Most Visible Transformation The annual Strategic Directions Report series offers analysis and insights into key issues and trends facing the smart cities and utilities, electric, natural gas, and water utility sectors.