What’s that in the sky? Ohio transportation officials get approval to fly oversized drone over highway

The Ohio Department of Transportation is planning to fly a large drone over a stretch of highway outside Columbus as part of a pilot traffic surveillance program, after receiving special permission from federal aviation officials to fly the aircraft out of view of its on-the-ground pilot.

ODOT workers will pilot the 20-pound Censys Sentaero aircraft, which has a wingspan of 7.5 feet, over a four-mile stretch of U.S. 33, a highway northwest of Columbus, to supplement on-the-ground traffic cameras, state officials said in a Wednesday news release. The unmanned aerial vehicle will be the first of its size in the country to be approved for that specific purpose, and only the second of its sized to be approved to fly over people and traffic for any reason without an on-board parachute.

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