AIG wins approval to fly drones to help process claims

The FAA gives AIG approval to use unmanned aerial vehicles to examine disaster sites, assess risk and get claims rolling.

Insurance giant American International Group (AIG) said Wednesday that it has received approval to operate drones to inspect disaster sites.

According to a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved AIG's use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to inspect sites, assess and manage risk and loss controls for U.S. customers.

Also: From robot apes to bot bartenders: The robots of CeBIT | Bot retailers must educate to shape ripe consumer market | Inexpensive table-top robots will disrupt light manufacturing | FAA clears Amazon drones for (experimental) takeoff | FAA approves some commercial drone flights

AIG added that it will also launch a research and development effort to find ways to deploy drones to handle claims faster. Amazon recently won approval to fly drones.

Drones can get AIG high resolution images of disaster areas for faster claim handling. Faster claims should get AIG customers payments faster because drones will also be able to get to areas that are difficult to manually inspect.

The U.S. effort builds on AIG's R&D program in New Zealand. AIG has tested UAVs to collect images and handle claims. Here's a look at smart drones that can fly without GPS.