Pilot projects will ship drones where no more drones have gone before. (Aerix Photo) The U.S. Department of Transportation has selected 10 country, local and tribal governments to oversee pilot jobs which will go where no more drones have gone before. But this time around, Amazon has been grounded. The projects are supposed to help set a course for ever-expanding drone surgeries over the next three years. “Data gathered by these pilot projects can form the cornerstone of a new regulatory framework to safely integrate drones to our national airspace,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said now at a news release. Under the experimental program — known as the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program, or UAS IPP — officials at the Federal Aviation Administration and other agencies spent weeks analyzing 149 proposals filed in response to a call that was set out last October. The procedure required governmental agencies to choose up teams and find the federal administration’s go-ahead to test out modes of operation which are often off-limits to small-sized drones, such as flying outside an operator’s line of sight, working after black or flying big groups of uninvolved folks. Such modes are seen as essential for widescale industrial applications such as the parcel delivery methods which Amazon, Walmart and other retailers will be working on. In an emailed statement, Amazon said it’s not working with some of the 10 teams which were selected in the initial round for your UAS IPP program. “While it’s unfortunate that the software we were involved with were not selected, we encourage the administration’s efforts to create a pilot program aimed at keeping America at the forefront of both drone and aviation innovation,” said Brian Huseman, vice president of Amazon general coverage. “In Amazon Prime Air, we’re focused on developing a safe working model for drones in the airspace, and we are going to continue our work to make this a reality.” Amazon has been conducting its testing program under other regulatory frameworks. It’s drone growth centers and test sites in various states, such as the U.S. in addition to Britain, Austria, France and Israel. Listed below are the 10 sites chosen for pilot jobs, and the focus of every project: Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Durant, Okla.: Test extended visual line-of-sight surgeries. Team partners include CNN and Green Valley Farms, which already has a 3,500-acre drone testing site in Oklahoma. City of San Diego: Test drone surgeries for boundary protection and parcel delivery of food, with a secondary emphasis on international commerce, surveillance and interoperability with autonomous vehicles and smart-city systems. Partners include Uber, Qualcomm, Matternet along with also the University of California at San Diego’s hospital system. Virginia Tech — Center for Innovative Technology, Herndon, Va.: Facilitate parcel delivery in rural and urban settings, and test technologies such as detect-and-avoid, monitoring and identification, radar methods and mapping tools. Partners include NASA, the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, Intel, AT&T, Airbus Aerial, State Farm, Dominion Energy, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Alphabet’s Project Wing, which got its start from Google. Kansas Department of Transportation, Topeka, Kan.: Test surgeries outside visual field of sight, and also leverage a more comprehensive unmanned traffic management system to facilitate precision agriculture surgeries. Partners include local agencies and universities. Lee County Mosquito Control District, Fort Myers, Fla.: Test low-altitude airborne applications to monitor and control the district’s mosquito population. Conduct autonomous flights to support airport operations such as perimeter protection surveillance and shipping of packages, such as airplane components. Partners include FedEx, Intel and units of General Electric. North Carolina Department of Transportation, Raleigh, N.C.: Test local packaged delivery, such as drone flights above people, beyond visual field of sight and during the night. The test will focus on delivering blood and other health equipment. Partners include Zipline, Flytrex, Matternet along with Precision Hawk. North Dakota Department of Transportation, Bismarck, N.D.: Test technologies to expand drone operations at night and outside visual field of sight. City of Reno, Nev.: Concentrate on the time-sensitive delivery of lifesaving medical equipment, including medical defibrillators, in urban and rural surroundings. Partners include FedEx and Flirtey, which has conducted drone delivery experiments from the Reno area with 7-Eleven along with Pizza Hut. . University of Alaska at Fairbanks: Test drone surgeries including testimonials, remote surveying and general public safety under harsh circumstances. The Transportation Department says more demonstration projects could be awarded the go-ahead in future rounds.