A major aerospace company is partnering with one of the first drone test sites in the U.S. to optimize WAS beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS).
Harris Corporation announced the partnership with University of North Dakota and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to create a network infrastructure system designed to “provide a full range of aviation-grade services for safe and efficient UAS BVLOS operations.”
As explained in a previous DRONELIFE posting:
“Beyond Visual Line of Sight describes an aviation event in which the unmanned aircraft flies autonomously over a long distance. Flight crew members control and track the aircraft in real-time using computer-aided controls, but the pilot is not capable of visually following the aircraft during flight with the naked eye.”
Harris officials say the network, which will cover the Grand Forks-to-Fargo corridor, is a regional baby step that could be scaled up to the whole of North Dakota and eventually the nation.
“The use of UAS for business operations – such as remotely monitoring power lines, farms, and rail tracks – represents the future for many organizations,” said George Kirov, Harris vice president and general manager, Commercial UAS Solutions. “Harris is applying the same innovation and expertise that made us a leader in manned aircraft air traffic management solutions to integrate commercial UAS operations into the National Airspace System.”
The company hopes to partner with government agencies and public utilities to create drone test scenarios to include road inspections, power-line monitoring, precision agriculture projects, public safety and rail inspection.
“By collaborating with the University of North Dakota and Harris, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site will have the opportunity to evaluate, develop, and implement a UAS network and airspace services,” said Nicholas Flom, executive director for the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. “This network will create a real-world environment for users to develop, test and certify new products and services.”
Located in Grand Forks, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site became the first official FAA UAV research site in 2014, leading some to call North Dakota the Silicon Valley for drones.
Last year, the FAA approved a plan permitting the Northeast Region Unmanned Aircraft System unit in Grand Forks, to loan drones domestic law enforcement agencies.
Grand Forks has been a flash-point region for both drone testing and police deployment. In 2014, the Grand Forks police department became one of the first law-enforcement agencies to use a drone in an operation, launching a UAV to locate four underage men who fled the scene after a drunk-driving traffic stop.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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