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US commercial drones given the go-ahead

Commercial drones have been given the go-ahead in the US.

Tests are underway in US airspace on ten commercial drone projects, which could help to make a series of tasks - including monitoring crops and mosquito populations - markedly easier.

The research opportunities have been handed to drones representing companies such as Zipline - which offers a blood-delivery service in Rwanda - and the technology giant Apple.

However, one of the firms that has been overlooked for the tests is Amazon, which has ambitions to make customer deliveries using drone technology.

Elaine Chao, US secretary of transportation, explained the significance of the testing process, saying: "Data gathered from these pilot projects will form the basis of a new regulatory framework to safely integrate drones into our national airspace."

In March, meanwhile, it was revealed that Google founder Larry Page is helping to fund a new self-flying air taxi that is able to travel at up to 180 km/h (110mph).

The cutting-edge device is being developed in New Zealand, where the government has hailed the air taxi for its environmental impact.

Dr Megan Woods, the minister for research, science and innovation, explained: "We've got ambitious goals here in New Zealand, we want to get to net zero emissions by 2050 and that includes mobility."

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