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Central NY Airport New Site for Drone Safety Tests

(AP Photo/PrecisionHawk)

(AP Photo/PrecisionHawk)

ROME, N.Y. (AP) — Federal regulators have approved drone research flights at a central New York airport, one of six sites nationally chosen to assess the safety of the aerial robots in already busy skies.

The other mission at Griffiss International Airport in Rome will be to study how drones can help farmers stay on top of pests, weeds and the conditions of their crops.

The NUAIR Alliance, a consortium of private industry, academic institutions and the military, says flights could begin in a couple of weeks after the Federal Aviation Administration approval Thursday. Future operations will include Massachusetts.

Congress told the FAA in 2012 to develop guidelines for commercial drone operations by the end of 2015.

That process is behind schedule and the FAA is wrestling with increasing unauthorized drone activity.

The other test sites are in Alaska, North Dakota, Nevada, Texas and Virginia.

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