The City of San Diego partnered with drone cloud-platform provider Cape last week to participate in the UAS Integration Pilot Program. Chosen from 149 applicants, the partnership is among 10 across the U.S to be chosen for IPP.
The program – a joint effort by the FAA and U.S. transportation department – focuses on “enabling the safe expansion of cutting-edge drone operations in the U.S.”
The agencies chose 10 state, local, and tribal municipalities along with private sector partners to test drone programs that cover issues such as drone flight over people, detect-and-avoid technology, night operations, package delivery and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations.
“From drones to human genomes, San Diego is renowned for its innovative spirit and talent that can’t be matched anywhere else,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “This designation brings together some of our brightest minds in local government and private industry to develop cutting-edge technologies that are going to take drone innovations to the next level.”
The California-based firm will partner with the city and several companies including AT&T, Qualcomm, Intel, Uber, and GE, to help define the future of commercial drones. In addition, Cape will work with the Chula Vista Police Department to develop public-safety drone plans.
“For the last four years, Cape has been at the forefront of drone software innovation, helping companies safely and easily use Cape technology to reduce costs and increase operational efficiencies,” said Chris Rittler, CEO of Cape. “We are proud to be among the select number of technology partners trusted to bring safe, impactful drone operations to the U.S., and are extremely excited to partner with the city of San Diego and the Chula Vista Police Department to improve the safety of both its officers and the broader community.”
According to a company statement, Cape is one of the first companies in the U.S. to be awarded Section 333 and Part 107 waivers by the FAA. “To date, Cape has performed more than 100,000 flights in the U.S., Middle East, Mexico, and New Zealand, with zero incidents.”
For the city, the IPP represents a step towards deeper drone integration after several headline-making moves over the past few years. In 2016, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department announced the formation of an exploratory task force to get feedback on possible drone use by police.