FAA Approves Drone Testing In San Luis Valley

(Photo: iStockphoto)
<p>A drone in flight.</p>

Two Colorado drone companies will soon be testing their aircraft over the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado after receiving approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

It's a victory for Colorado drone companies and researchers. Two years ago, the agency denied Colorado's bid to host one of six national drone testing sites.

CU Boulder professor Brian Argrow helped lead both efforts. He says the valley offers a number of benefits for drone testing.

"All sorts of terrain of interest for unmanned aircraft systems testing, then you have a few airports amenable to scheduling this kind of testing, and it's a relatively low population area," Argrow said.

The varied terrain should help test potential uses for commercial drones like firefighting and farm monitoring, says Argrow.