PrecisionHawk Delivers Final Pathfinder Report to the Federal Aviation Administration

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In 2015, we announced a Collaborative Research and Development Agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration. Our participation in The Pathfinder Program was as a designated industry partner for Focus Area Two: Extended and Beyond Visual Line of Sight. The program’s aim was to develop uses for unmanned aircraft that would transform industries—keeping trains running on time, measuring the health of crops, or measuring the impact of a natural disaster. Over the past three years, the Pathfinder Program has yielded data to support the expansion of FAA-approved drone operations. We’ve learned about flight operations and best practices in safety.

Today, we delivered the final Pathfinder report to the FAA at an event held at the Newseum in Washington, DC. With a better understanding of the risks associated with advanced drone operations—specifically beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS)—this research will serve as the foundation for measuring safety improvements as enabling technologies are applied to drone operations.

Michael Chasen, Dr. Allison Ferguson and Diana Cooper, our SVP Policy and Strategy, were joined by key stakeholders engaged in UAS integration including Rob Pappas, FAA UAS Integration Office, Gemechu Gelgelu, FAA Airspace Policy, Matt DeGarmo of MITRE, and Ethan Klein, Emerging Technologies at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to discuss how the final results of our Pathfinder research will help shape the requirements for advanced drone operations. The final report will be made available to the public in March.

The Pathfinder program has demonstrated a corporate commitment to research activities—data-driven development of safe UAS operations. As our team completes this final phase, we look forward to sharing our findings.

Soon, we’ll share how we’re building on three of years of Pathfinder research and experience conducting advanced operations under our own BVLOS FAA waivers.