Transport Canada has issued the second Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights in uncontrolled airspace utilizing infrastructure masking and Iris Automation’s onboard detect-and-avoid (DAA) solution to MVT Geo-solutions.
Under this SFOC, MVT, the UAS Center of Excellence (CED Alma), and Iris Automation will partner to conduct commercial missions over linear power lines in Alma, Quebec. Approval was granted to include the utilization of Iris Automation’s DAA system, Casia, which provides commercial drones with automated collision avoidance maneuvers.
These flights will mark the partnership’s first BVLOS flights outside of the CED Alma test range that will leverage onboard DAA for air risk mitigation and does not require ground-based visual observers or radar. It is the second BVLOS waiver the partnership has secured in Canada, with the first waiver being limited to flights within the Center of Excellence’s controlled airspace.
BVLOS flights unlock autonomous drone use for economically beneficial commercial applications including infrastructure inspection, mining, mapping, agriculture, emergency response, and package delivery.
“This permission further demonstrates how the Casia onboard detect-and-avoid (DAA) system is helping to advance the safety case for drone usage while simultaneously expanding the envelope of drone-related use cases,” said Jon Damush, CEO of Iris Automation. “Drones offer tremendous promise in terms of safety and economics as compared to piloted aviation alternatives, but we must integrate them into the airspace safely. Seeing and avoiding other aircraft is paramount to that safety, and steps like this are key to unlocking the promise of drones.”
“Obtaining this Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) is a first in Quebec,” explains Mr. Alain Fortin, president of the UAS Center of Excellence. “As a Canadian pioneer in the civil and commercial RPAS industry, Alma’s CED is proud to have contributed to the development of technologies and skills that speed up the advent of safe and well-integrated BVLOS flight in Canadian airspace.”
Resulting flight missions from this approval will help inform more complex commercial operations in the future, the companies say.