In just a few years, drones have emerged as a transformative force for business intelligence and operations. And with the introduction of technology that enables Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight, we can go farther and gather more information than ever before. Check out our whitepaper for the full BVLOS assessment.
As opposed to Visual Line of Sight, BVLOS flights are performed out of visual range. BVLOS capabilities enable a drone to cover far greater distances, significantly improving the economics and feasibility of many commercial operations.
Yet (almost all) operators fail to obtain a waiver
For all the promise of BVLOS, one major hurdle has prevented nearly all American operators from reaping its full economic benefit.
To conduct commercial BVLOS operations, businesses must be granted a BVLOS Part 107 Waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), or work with a provider who has one. To obtain the waiver, operators must prove to the FAA that their drone operations can be conducted safely without endangering other aircraft or people and property on the ground or in the air.
But how do you demonstrate safety? How can you mitigate the risks? What data points are involved?
Without direct answers to these questions, the failure rate for obtaining a waiver is staggeringly high - over 99% of BVLOS waiver applications have been rejected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The Safety Issues of Flying BVLOS
In 2015, in an effort to to accelerate discovery and inform regulation on drones, the FAA chartered a new initiative. It partnered with three private U.S. companies to gather actionable data on real drone applications and safety scenarios. The project was named The Pathfinder Initiative.
PrecisionHawk was one of the three companies selected to collaborate with the FAA. In developing our fieldwork on operational and safety practices, we considered the following issues:
- Trajectory and Location Information—How does the operator, as well as those operating manned and unmanned aircraft in the vicinity, track the location and trajectory of a drone?
- Cooperative Aircraft—Likewise, how does the drone operator monitor the location and trajectory of other aircraft?
- Non-cooperative Aircraft—How do you detect and avoid aircraft that don’t broadcast location and trajectory information?
- “Manning” an Unmanned Aircraft—Since the pilot is not in the unmanned aircraft, how do they observe their surrounding or respond to onboard alerts? How do you ensure the drone operator can adequately react to a potential conflict?
- Going the Distance with Drones—Other than avoiding conflicts with other aircraft, what technology is required to enable the drone to span long distances, all while keeping the pilot connected? What failsafes are in-place in the event there are obstructions that the pilot cannot observe?
Without a compelling safety case that addresses these issues, most organizations that would stand to benefit from augmenting their operations with BVLOS drones are locked out of capitalizing on the technology’s full potential.
In partnership with the FAA, PrecisionHawk recently concluded three years of fieldwork aimed at developing operational and safety practices. To help enable BVLOS flight for everyone in the industry, we’ve captured our findings in a free, easy-to-read whitepaper.
Whitepaper: Achieving BVLOS Operations
In our new whitepaper, Opening The Skies To Beyond Visual Line of Sight Drone Operations, we outline everything you need to know on how to conduct successful BVLOS operations, including:
- How BVLOS can help businesses collect data in a safer, more cost-efficient manner than traditional methods
- Recommendations and findings from three years of BVLOS safety research
- The safety measures, technology, training and hardware needed for successful BVLOS operations
- How you can integrate BVLOS operations into your existing infrastructure
It’s time to take your drone technology out of sight. Read our whitepaper to learn how.