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The past decade has seen ever-increasing attention and resources dedicated to the application and operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs). Beginning with issuance of special airworthiness certificates in the experimental category for unmanned aircraft in 2007, up to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 and creation of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §107 and §101, the complexity and breadth of applications for UAS technology have flourished.

Recognizing the interest and potential benefits to the surface transportation community the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) commissioned Scan 17-01 to accelerate beneficial innovation by facilitating information sharing and technology exchange among the states and other transportation agencies. Results from a desk scan, amplifying questions, and a peer exchange workshop produced conclusions and recommendations in seven topic areas for transportation agencies to consider when getting started using a UAS.