Vigilant Aerospace, under the observation of the FAA and NASA, has completed beyond visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) flight testing of its new FlightHorizon collision avoidance system for drones. The company has released a 90 second video explaining the process, software, and results.
The successful completion of these tests would seem to indicate another step forward towards regulations that may allow BVLOS flight as part of regular commercial drone operation. Vigilant’s flight safety software – FlightHorizon – is based on a NASA patent and prototype, to which they hold the exclusive license.
Tests were performed by Vigilant at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in the Mojave desert. Representatives from the FAA, FCC, NASA and airfield safety officers were all present as professional drone operators flew nearly 100 flights with two DJI Phantom 4 drones equipped with aviation transponders and a laptop running the FlightHorizon software.
The software provides drone pilots with a visual map of their aircraft’s location and the location of other nearby aircraft and provides air traffic alerts and collision warnings by tracking the drone and all the aircraft around it for tens of miles. The tests involved 18 encounter scenarios, including beyond line-of-sight flights in which the aircraft were flown at each other from out of sight. The software proved successful in tests: FlightHorizon detected and tracked 100% of the air traffic and warned of all potential collisions.
“FlightHorizon UAS™ is designed to meet the upcoming RTCA SC-228 Phase II Minimum Operating Standards (MOPS)…” says the company. “It is also intended to help unmanned operators obtain a beyond visual line-of-sight waiver under Section 107.200 of the new sUAS Part 107 rules. The product is based on an exclusively licensed patent and software suite developed and tested by NASA at Armstrong Flight Research Center with FAA observation.”
BVLOS flight is not allowed under currently regulations, although FAA Administrator Michael Huerta has promised movement on BVLOS regulations soon.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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