The research program operators are scattered across the nation from Alaska to the Mexican border and will be the bases for studies on a range of issues, including the airworthiness and environmental impact of unmanned aircraft as well as their integration into the U.S. air-traffic control system.
The site operators were chosen from among 25 proposals from 24 states, and will carry out testing and research until at least February 2017, the FAA said in a written statement.
The site operators selected include Griffiss International Airport in Rome, N.Y., Virginia Tech, the Texas A&M campus in Corpus Christi, the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce, the state of Nevada and the University of Alaska, which includes test sites in Oregon and Alaska.
The FAA said the site operators were chosen for technical prowess as well as geographic and climate diversity.
The agency headed off concerns about the drones conducting surveillance on people living near the six centers by assuring they would comply with federal and state privacy requirements