MVT Geo-solutions has partnered with Iris Automation in a successful bid to receive the first Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) Special Flight Operations Certificate by Transport Canada using only onboard Detect-and-Avoid.
The approval was granted based on deployment of Iris Automation‘s DAA system, Casia. The solution provides commercial drones with automated collision avoidance maneuvers. The waiver permits flights within the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence’s controlled airspace Remotely Piloted Aircraft System test range in Alma, Quebec.
“This is the first BVLOS flight at the location leveraging only onboard DAA for air risk mitigation, and does not require ground-based observers or radar,” an Iris press release states. “BVLOS flights unlock autonomous drone use for economically beneficial commercial applications including infrastructure inspection, mining, mapping, agriculture, emergency response, and package delivery.”
“Achieving the first BVLOS approval in Canada further validates our technology alongside multiple permissions we have already received from regulators in the U.S. and South Africa,” said Iris Automation CEO Alexander Harmsen . “This technology is critical to safely integrate drones into the airspace along with manned-aircraft, and we look forward to unlocking commercial operations for our customers in Canada.”
“The UAS Center of Excellence is looking forward to leveraging Iris Automation’s industry-leading DAA system and existing flight expertise within our network to conduct BVLOS flights with MVT Geo-solutions,” said UAS Center of Excellence Director William de Keiser. “We will continue to develop our partnership with Iris Automation to provide training to local operators and enable BVLOS flights in Canada.”
The flights are scheduled to take place within weeks. The resulting data will inform more complex BVLOS operations in the future.
Last month, drone manufacturer ZM Interactive picked Iris Automation as the company’s detect-and-avoid provider. The deal will empower ZMI customers to conduct beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations.
Harmsen spoke with DroneLife last week about the future of BVLOS approval and Onboard Sense and Avoid. He said Iris is working with the Kansas Department of Transportation with an FAA BVLOS waiver and expects more waivers currently in the works to be approved within the next few months.
“We’ve seen this same sort of scenario play out with other operations. There may be a couple of initial BVLOS approvals that can set a precedent; then there is a standard that comes out from industry; then there is an official rulemaking. This is a time for us to raise the tide for the entire industry – so many people have been waiting for this.”
Miriam McNabb contributed to this report.
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