Robert Davidson

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Mississippi Wants To Be Drone Test Site

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi is bidding for one of six sites nationwide to test unmanned aerial vehicles.

A Mississippi Development Authority spokeswoman says the state submitted its proposal to the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday.

State officials say the FAA should choose Mississippi because it has three manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as a flight laboratory at Mississippi State University. Congress has directed the FAA to use test sites to determine how to integrate current air traffic with unmanned vehicles. Today, such drones can only be flown with special permission, and can’t be used for commercial purposes.

FAA spokesman Les Dorr says 50 sites in 37 states had indicated they would submit proposals. The FAA won’t finance the test, Dorr says, meaning bidders have to find some way to pay.