President Donald Trump signed a directive in 2017 to establish the 'innovation zones' that allow exemptions to some drone regulations, such as flying over people, nighttime flights and flights where the aircraft can't be seen by the operator.
States, communities and tribes selected to participate would devise their own trial programs in partnership with government and industry drone users.
'Data gathered from these pilot projects will form the basis of a new regulatory framework to safely integrate drones into our national airspace,' US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said in a statement.
Ms Chao, who called the rapidly developing drone industry the biggest development since the jet age, said about 150 applications were received.
Ten sites have been included in a the Federal Aviation Administration's Unmanned Aircraft Systems