Choctaw Nation Holds Drone Testing Demonstration

Friday, August 17th 2018, 4:20 am
By: News On 6

"I don't know if people realize but they witnessed history today," said Choctaw Chief Gary Batton.

On the Choctaws' 42,000 acre ranch, ranchers now have the opportunity to use drones for their daily tasks.  A demonstration put on by Intel and the Federal Aviation Administration Wednesday showed how drones can help ranchers detect heat signatures in their fields and set traps.

Chief Batton told KXII, the CBS affiliate in Sherman, Texas, they are excited about being one of only ten locations selected for the federal pilot program that aims to expand the use of drones.

There, they'll test operations that are banned right now like flying drones over the heads of people, beyond the line of site and at night.

"It's bringing the world to southeastern Oklahoma, a rural area. Then it also makes us feel really good that we are helping create a safe environment for the implementation of drones in mainstream society and we need peoples input on how that is going to happen," said Chief Batton.

Part of the reason the Choctaw Nation was selected is their ranch is in a remote location.

At the ranch, their focus will be mostly agricultural with 2,100 head of cattle and just six homes.

Chief Batton says his tribe is glad to be on the cutting edge of technology.

"We are getting to be creative. We are getting to do ground breaking things with technology which is not typical for not only Choctaw Nation but for southeast Oklahoma so I'm really excited for our tribe and tribal members," said Chief Batton.