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Autel will pay its customers to take the Part 107 test

Autel Robotics announced today that it will cover the cost for its customers who take (and pass) the Federal Aviation Administration’s Remote Pilot Knowledge Test.

Autel drone operators who submit a proof of a qualified X-Star series drone purchase and proof of a passing result on the FAA’s knowledge test will be entitled to a rebate for the test, which otherwise costs $150.

It’s a wonderful premise to set as it looks like Autel wants to make sure its customers are educated and safe. But it’s also a wise move for the drone company in an effort to remove itself from any bad press from rogue drones and ensure its drones aren’t the ones crashing. The drone that famously crashed into the White House lawn was a DJI Phantom — Autel’s primary competitor.

“We want to make professional drone use easy and accessible to wide variety of business users, and paying for the testing fees for our users is one small way we’re helping customers learn about how drones can make their businesses more profitable, safer and more productive,” Autel Robotics USA CEO Steve McIrvin said.

The promotion will officially start Aug. 29, the same day the new FAA regulations are set to take effect, and run through the end of November. Autel Robotics will publish details on the rebate on its website closer to the promotion start date.autel x-star

Need help studying for the Part 107 test? Here are some of the drone training courses available:

  • Drone Pilot Ground School offers a fantastic online training course with practice tests and repeatable videos for $299.
  • DARTdrones has a day-long, in-person training course for $670. (Use coupon code DroneGirl10 to save 10%, dropping your cost down to $603).
  • UAV Ground School offers an online course in partnership with Gold Seal Flight. It’s normally $249, but use coupon code DRONEGIRL to save $25 and take that price down to $224.

The FAA published the new Part 107 regulations in late June. Before Part 107, people who wanted to fly drones for commercial purposes had to get a Section 333 exemption, which included obtaining a manned aircraft pilot’s license. Under Part 107, drone pilots can become licensed for commercial operation by passing an aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved test center, submitting an application online or on paper, and completing a TSA background check.

Check out my review of the Autel X-Star (with video).

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