Commercial drone
A commercial drone with a camera in flight. Photo by Alexander Glinz via Wikimedia Commons

The city of San Diego Thursday announced it is seeking public input on drone use and testing in and around the city.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation selected San Diego to test unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly called drones, during the next two years.

Because of the selection, the San Diego Regional Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program will take community feedback on the tests via an online survey.

“Since May, our partners have been busy evaluating possible UAS uses that will benefit residents and businesses, as well as government agencies,” said John Valencia, executive director of the city’s Office of Homeland Security. “Drones will help strengthen services and provide safety enhancements to San Diego residents during emergencies. Drones can help us save lives.”

More than 20 regional organizations and municipalities are participating in the pilot program, including the Port of San Diego and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. Under the program, drone technology could be deployed to accident scenes before first responders and deliver medical samples from UC San Diego Health.

The U.S. Department of Transportation expects to collect information on community feedback, commercial and technological applications for drones and FAA approval for airspace authorizations during the course of the pilot program.

“This survey will provide vital information for the program to gauge and understand the interest and concerns of residents in our area,” said SDREDC President and CEO Mark Cafferty. “The data collected will be invaluable in advancing the program as we look to grow the innovation economy and create jobs.”

Residents can take the 23-question survey at

–City News Service