Delair America Inc., a Delair-Tech company, has reached an agreement with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) to perform a series of test flights at the Nevada Test Site in Reno by the end of this month.
Delair-Tech, will be one of the drone companies testing BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) scenarios. A global leader in professional and industrial drone solutions, Delair-Tech’s DT18 has been certified for BVLOS flight in France since 2012, and subsequently in other countries around the world.
The agreement calls for Delair-Tech operators to fly the fixed-wing drone 15 miles from the ground control. “Ultimately, the goal of these tests is to collect the autopilot data from the DT18 as well as from other UAS platforms into the UTM system designed by NASA,” says the company. “Different use cases will be performed over several days in order to collect a significant amount of data to complete the NASA UTM TCL2.”
The agreement is the latest of the FAA’s efforts to move forwards quickly on BVLOS flight. While the FAA has indicated that rules for flight over people may be finalized by the end of this year, they have also made it clear that BVLOS flight regulations will be prioritized also.
BVLOS flight regulations are required for a number of commercial applications available in Europe and elsewhere. BVLOS flight allows for monitoring of large infrastructure such as roads and railways, for vegetation encroachment and maintenance; for large scale agriculture flights; and for broader geospatial applications. Drone delivery companies have been among the most vocal advocates for BVLOS flight. Shyam Chidamber of global drone delivery company Flirtey testified before a House subcommittee this week that the US stands to “lose our lead in drone delivery technology” if regulators do not move faster on BVLOS flight and drone integration into the NAS.
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.