Safety equipment: Drone, FAA News—Pathfinder Research Program opens skies for commercial drones
Line maintenance: FAA Pathfinder Report serves as blueprint for enterprises to conduct Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operations.
Safety products: PrecisionHawk Inc., a provider of drone technology, announced the release of its final Pathfinder Report – a blueprint for enterprises to conduct Beyond the Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operations. The fieldwork was performed in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and MITRE under the Pathfinder Program. The report outlines a comprehensive safety case and standards to fly drones BVLOS and has yielded critical information to the FAA regarding drone operations.
Combining extensive research and rigorous testing, the learnings have been summarized into American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards and are available to the public and any drone company seeking to obtain its own waiver to fully realize the benefits of BVLOS drone operations.
The full report, which describes how to develop a safety case and choose technology that is required to fly BVLOS can be found at http://www.faapathfinderreport.com
An abbreviated version of PrecisionHawk’s safety research is also publicly available at http://www.precisionhawk.com/pathfinder
“The final report determined that there are three necessary components for BVLOS flight operations: detection, safety, and drone operator training,” stated Dr. Allison Ferguson, director airspace research at PrecisionHawk. “Technology must be integrated to identify cooperative and non-cooperative aircraft, pilots must be aware of existing airspace classes, temporary flight restrictions, and no-fly zones, and pilots must receive BVLOS-specific training to ensure a safety ecosystem around BVLOS drone flight.”
In order to maintain the United States’ record as having the safest and most complex airspace in the world, the FAA requires very high safety standards from drone operators seeking to fly beyond line of sight. To-date, more than 1,200 BVLOS waiver applications have been submitted by commercial drone operators, of which 99 percent have failed to demonstrate an acceptable level of safety. PrecisionHawk’s report provides best practices for BVLOS safety and serves as an inflection point for the commercial drone industry, as it supports the expansion of safe drone operations.
“PrecisionHawk has spent the past three years conducting BVLOS safety research to demonstrate a corporate commitment to research activities that support the data-driven growth of safe unmanned air systems operations,” said Michael Chasen, PrecisionHawk CEO. “We believe that the ability to fly drones BVLOS represents the next big opportunity for commercial drone operators across such industries as energy, agriculture, insurance, construction and government, and with the proper assistive technology, training and hardware, BVLOS operations can be conducted safely.”
Under its own BVLOS waiver, PrecisionHawk has already begun working with enterprise clients to integrate BVLOS operations that address applications, such as pipeline inspection, environmental monitoring and more.
“Through our work we understand flight operations and best practices for BVLOS safety, but we don’t want to be the only ones in the sky,” continued Chasen. “We’re eager to make the capability accessible to the industry at large by working with companies to build a safety case, identify required technology and navigate the regulatory waters of BVLOS flight so that they may safely operate drones.”
Companies interested in applying for a BVLOS waiver from the FAA can visit precisionhawk.com/BVLOS for more information on the waiver process.
PrecisionHawk is a leading provider of drone technology for the enterprise. PrecisionHawk’s client list includes Fortune 500 companies and market leaders in 150 countries, spanning a range of industries, including agriculture, energy, insurance, government and construction. To date, PrecisionHawk has raised more than $100 million from leading venture capital firms including Third Point Ventures and Millennium Technology Value Partners, with strategic investments from enterprise customers and partners including Comcast Ventures, DuPont, Intel Capital, NTT Docomo, and Yamaha Motor. The company, founded in 2010, is privately held and headquartered in Raleigh, NC.