Today, PrecisionHawk announced the first Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS)-enabled drone platform. It includes the latest in aircraft detection technology, delivering to the drone operator the situational awareness necessary to deconflict airspace and avoid a potential confrontation. Key to this capability is cutting-edge acoustic detection technology, which can identify aircraft within a 10 km radius.
The BVLOS-enabled drone platform was designed based on recommendations in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Pathfinder Report. Delivered earlier this year, the report outlines a comprehensive safety case and standards to operate drones BVLOS.
“The completion of the Pathfinder Program marks the end of three years-worth of research that outlines specific recommendations for training and technology to maximize safety and accomplish the next phase of industry expansion,” said Michael Chasen, PrecisionHawk CEO.
Read the Pathfinder Report
The full report, which describes how to develop a safety case and choose technology that is required to fly BVLOS can be found here: FAAPathfinderReport.com
An abbreviated version of PrecisionHawk’s safety research available at: PrecisionHawk.com/pathfinder
In order to maintain the United States’ record as having the safest and most complex airspace in the world, the FAA requires 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.
Through the Pathfinder fieldwork, PrecisionHawk identified three pieces of technology that should be required for safe BVLOS operations. The technology components were incorporated into a multirotor drone that can fly two hours and up to 40 miles in one flight to support safe, long-range operations:
- Drone tracking: Drone is equipped with GPS technology to broadcast location and trajectory of the drone at all times, making it visible to drones and other aircraft in its vicinity.
- Real-time manned aircraft identification: Drone includes low altitude traffic and airspace safety (LATAS) technology, which provides access to real-time manned aircraft data through an exclusive partnership with HARRIS.
- Detect and avoid for non-cooperative aircraft: An acoustic- based aircraft detection (ABAD) system is integrated on the drone to detect non-cooperative aircraft, available through an exclusive partnership with SARA.
Improving Operational Efficiency
Any company with big infrastructure investments over vast distances would likely benefit from BVLOS drone operations. Under PrecisionHawk’s own commercial BVLOS waiver, the company has identified opportunities to save as much as $180 for every mile of data capture when compared to traditional methods.
“With the Pathfinder Report as the foundation, PrecisionHawk has developed a unique perspective on what it takes to fly BVLOS from both a service, training and technology perspective,” Chasen continued. “Through our research and exclusive technology partnerships, we are well-positioned to bring this BVLOS flight solution to market and support other companies as they set out to meet the recommendations for BVLOS flight.”