The Federal Aviation Administration has decided to allow the use of drones in the Alaska oil industry.
The agency issued “restricted category type certificates” for two types of unmanned aircraft flown by remote control.
The drones will be flown for ConocoPhillips by Boeing subsidiary Insitu Inc. of Bingen, Washington and AeroVironment Inc. of Monrovia, California.
They’ll fly the ScanEagle X200 and the Puma AE.
ConocoPhillips plans to use the drones to monitor spills, track wildlife, and survey ocean ice floes and migrating whales in Arctic oil exploration areas, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
The drones are about 4½ feet long with wingspans of 10 feet or less.
We’re not quite ready to go into full talk mode about it, Natalie Lowman, a spokesperson for ConocoPhillips, said. We’re trying to evaluate how we can use it in our operations.