Israeli commercial drone company Airobotics announced that they have received the first authorization in the world to fly fully automated drones without a pilot. The Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) granted the certification this month.
“This milestone proves that decisions and actions that were once taken by a human drone pilot, can now be taken by Airobotics’ computer software and artificial intelligence,” says the company. “Essentially, an authorized pilot is now replaced by an authorized computer.”
Airobotics developed the totally autonomous platform to eliminate labor costs and accommodate the increasing complexity of drone operation logistics. The company received 28.5 million in a combined funding round last June, after announcing the autonomous platform.
Airobotics has been testing the system under CAAI’s inspection to prove the safety case. The testing required over 10,000 flight hours and countless documents; but they’ve proven their point. “The process demonstrated the system’s abilities, which were corrected along the way based on CAAI’s and Airobotics’ customers’ demands,” says Airobotics. “These demands included adhering to safety standards, security procedures, emergency response, system reliability, and the capability to comply with flight and mission demands per Airobotics’ concept of operation. Examples of tests include environmental conditions, endurance and robustness testing.”
The Airobotics’ platform has three parts: “Optimus”, a large drone capable with a 30 minute flight endurance carrying a 1kg payload; an “Airbase”, a base station from which the Optimus drone launches and lands; and “Software”, which the company describes as “an integrated, dynamic software that enables users to control and manage missions with one click.”
CAAI and Airobotics say that the certification has greater significance than just one company. “The innovative certification process led by CAAI was based on the latest existing international standards for UAVs. This modern certification approach takes into consideration specific risk analysis and safety cases,” says the company. “Airobotics, together with the CAAI, is setting a new benchmark for the evaluations and approval of UAV operations for the rest of the world.”
Airobotics is expanding its market to Australia and USA.
“Here in Israel, we are always pushing the boundaries of innovation,” said Ran Krauss, CEO & Co-Founder of Airobotics. “We are proud to be at the forefront of the commercial UAV area, together with CAAI, and be able to lead the way for drone companies and regulators throughout the world.”
“Airobotics has completed a long cycle, which started in 2013. This newly granted certification is our next generation milestone, that completely takes the human drone pilot out of the equation in BVLOS operations. We predict this certification milestone will revolutionize the global market landscape, and pave the way for future applications of automated drones.”
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 a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.