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In conjunction with current railroad track inspections, BNSF will probably fly a fixed-wing drone at altitudes of up to 1,000 feet under the new FAA Pathfinder program. (Photo: Shutterstock.com)

(Bloomberg) — BNSF Railway Co., owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., will be among the first companies to operate a commercial drone over hundreds of miles in a U.S. research program to test the safety of pilot-less flights.

A camera-equipped drone will fly as far as 400 miles (640 kilometers) along tracks in rural areas to inspect rails, BNSF said. The Federal Aviation Administration also chose CNN and Precision Hawk USA Inc. to make flights beyond the visual line of sight of an operator in unpopulated areas, a practice that is currently banned.

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