North Dakota and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) have been a hot spot for the commercial drone industry since the industry started to grow. With agriculture, military installations, and the oil and gas industry all represented, the state is an ideal place to test new commercial applications. Now, North Dakota is working on building out their commercial drone infrastructure by creating a statewide BVLOS network.
Drone flight beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) is currently prohibited. Waivers in some cases require ground-based physical infrastructure to detect objects, combined with airborne sensors and sophisticated sense and avoid technology – so developing a statewide BVLOS network could benefit both drone companies and their customers.
Three leading aviation infrastructure companies – Collins Aerospace, a Raytheon Technologies Company; L3Harris Technologies; and Thales USA – were selected to work with NPUASTS to develop and employ the physical infrastructure for the network. The Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) has selected Volansi’s VOLY C10 for Site Acceptance Testing and use-case development. “This aircraft will test installed network components, ensure safety and reliability of the network, perform use-case development flights, and help NPUASTS set the standard requirements for any aircraft seeking to fly on the network,” says a press release.
The VOLY C10 is already in process to obtain an FAA durability and reliability type certification. VOLY C10 can also support different payloads to test a wide variety of use cases – and allows for integration of technologies like Command and Control (C2) links or onboard Detect and Avoid (DAA).
“Volansi’s proposal was impressive,” said Jim Cieplak, program manager of the statewide BVLOS network through the NPUASTS. “We feel confident that the VOLY C10 will not only meet our needs in testing the earliest stages of network deployment, but will support the integration of new technology as the project evolves.”
“We’ve talked about North Dakota’s statewide BVLOS network as a turnkey product. Extensive testing and validation of the system during development is part of that,” said Nicholas Flom, executive director of NPUASTS. “The network will be widely accessible to support public and commercial use cases because of this testing.”
“We are thrilled to be a part of this important initiative, the first of its kind in the U.S.,” said Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi. “Not only does this state-driven initiative position North Dakota as a leader in BVLOS operations, it also supports the growth of unmanned aviation by creating a viable model that could be adopted across the country – and maybe even the world.”
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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