Canada approves BVLOS drone flights with Iris

March 31, 2020  - By
Image: GPS World

MVT Geo-solutions, in partnership with Iris Automation, has been granted the first beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) by Transport Canada using only onboard detect-and-avoid (DAA) systems.

The approval was granted based on the utilization of Iris Automation’s DAA system, called Casia, which provides commercial drones with automated collision avoidance maneuvers.

The waiver permits flights within the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center of Excellence’s controlled airspace Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) test range in Alma, Quebec. This is the first BVLOS flight at the location leveraging only onboard DAA for air risk mitigation, and does not require ground-based observers or radar.

BVLOS flights unlock autonomous drone use for economically beneficial commercial applications including infrastructure inspection, mining, mapping, agriculture, emergency response and package delivery.

“Achieving the first BVLOS approval in Canada further validates our technology alongside multiple permissions we have already received from regulators in the U.S. and South Africa,” said Iris Automation CEO Alexander Harmsen. ”This technology is critical to safely integrate drones into the airspace along with manned-aircraft, and we look forward to unlocking commercial operations for our customers in Canada.”

Iris Automation’s onboard computer-vision DAA system is an effective, scalable and cost-effective technology to enable commercial BVLOS operations.

“The UAS Center of Excellence is looking forward to leveraging Iris Automation’s DAA system and existing flight expertise within our network to conduct BVLOS flights with MVT Geo-solutions,” said UAS Center of Excellence Director William de Keiser. “We will continue to develop our partnership with Iris Automation to provide training to local operators and enable BVLOS flights in Canada.”

The first BVLOS flights are scheduled to take place within weeks. The resulting data will inform more complex BVLOS operations in the future.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.