Drones will be allowed to fly long distances and over populated areas across four states to assess damage from Hurricane Florence, after US aviation regulators granted the first such approvals to an insurance company.
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Small, foam fixed-wing aircraft operated by State Farm Mutual Automobile Association Co., the largest US property-casualty insurer, were deemed safe by the Federal Aviation Administration, the company and the agency said. State Farm has been working with researchers at Virginia Tech’s Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, one of 10 locations selected earlier this year as test beds for drone research. “Drone technology provides us with the capability to quickly deploy over a catastrophe site and assess damage from the air,” Robert Yi, senior vice president at State Farm, said in a statement on Tuesday.