Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm announced yesterday that it is the first insurer in the United States to receive FAA permission to test Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for commercial use.

According to the insurer’s announcement, the decision gives State Farm the opportunity to research this new technology and potentially deploy it in ways that could benefit customers. Current plans are to explore the use of unmanned aircraft to assess potential roof damage during the claims process and respond to natural disasters, the company said in a statement.

“The potential use of UAS provides us one more innovative tool to help State Farm customers recover from the unexpected as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Wensley Herbert, Operations Vice President–Claims. “We will continue to provide the same personal, good neighbor service State Farm is recognized for, with assistance from these high-tech devices.”

The company plans to move forward with test and development flights. These flights will be conducted at private test sites in the Bloomington, Ill., area.

Eventually, these test flights will evolve to testing in real-world scenarios. State Farm will strictly adhere to parameters set forth by the FAA, the company said.

Source: State Farm