Iris Automa­tion has been select­ed by the Fed­er­al Avi­a­tion Admin­is­tra­tion to par­tic­i­pate in its BVLOS ARC (Avi­a­tion Rule­mak­ing Com­mit­tee), which was announced at last week’s vir­tu­al AUVSI FAA Sym­po­sium.

The UAS BVLOS ARC will pro­vide rec­om­men­da­tions to the FAA for per­for­mance-based reg­u­la­to­ry require­ments to nor­malise safe, scal­able and eco­nom­i­cal­ly viable UAS BVLOS oper­a­tions that are not under pos­i­tive air traf­fic con­trol (ATC). This ARC will take a holis­tic approach in rec­om­mend­ing a per­for­mance-based, tech­nol­o­gy agnos­tic, reg­u­la­to­ry frame­work for BVLOS oper­a­tions.

Steve Dick­son, FAA admin­is­tra­tor, announced the new ARC vir­tu­al­ly dur­ing his keynote address. “I’m pleased to announce that the FAA is form­ing a new Avi­a­tion Rule­mak­ing Com­mit­tee, or ARC, to help the agency devel­op a reg­u­la­to­ry path for rou­tine Beyond Visu­al Line of Sight oper­a­tions. This com­mit­tee will con­sid­er the safe­ty, secu­ri­ty and envi­ron­men­tal needs, as well as soci­etal ben­e­fits, of these oper­a­tions.

With­in six months, the com­mit­tee will sub­mit a rec­om­men­da­tions report to the FAA. I think we can all agree this is a big step for­ward, and it will help pave the way for rou­tine pack­age deliv­ery, infra­struc­ture inspec­tion, and oth­er more com­plex drone oper­a­tions beyond the visu­al line-of-sight of the remote pilot.”

Both the BEYOND pro­gram and the ARC are intend­ed to assist the FAA in estab­lish­ing safe­ty and per­for­mance stan­dards for BVLOS oper­a­tion by work­ing with a diverse array of indus­try and inter­est­ed stake­hold­ers.

The BEYOND pro­gram pro­vides real-world oper­a­tional learn­ing in the field and ARC sug­gests spe­cif­ic reg­u­la­to­ry rec­om­men­da­tions, across acad­e­mia and stan­dards bod­ies, infra­struc­ture secu­ri­ty, pri­va­cy, state/local/tribal and ter­ri­to­r­i­al bod­ies, tech­nol­o­gy, net­work and infra­struc­ture, tra­di­tion­al avi­a­tion asso­ci­a­tions, UAS asso­ci­a­tions and man­u­fac­tur­ers, and UAS oper­a­tors. 

Jon Damush, CEO at Iris Automa­tion, said: “Iris Automa­tion is com­mit­ted to devel­op­ing crit­i­cal detec­tion tech­nolo­gies and work­ing close­ly with glob­al pol­i­cy­mak­ers and reg­u­la­tors to devel­op appro­pri­ate BVLOS safe­ty stan­dards. 

“We are there­fore hon­oured to be select­ed to con­tribute to this pro­gres­sive and con­tin­ued effort by the FAA to work towards estab­lish­ing real-world guide­lines in mak­ing UAS oper­a­tions safe and scal­able through­out the Unit­ed States. Build­ing on the crit­i­cal work already achieved by the FAA’s IPP and now BEYOND pro­grams, we look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing our par­tic­i­pa­tion in this extreme­ly valu­able industry/regulator col­lab­o­ra­tion.”

Iris Automa­tion par­tic­i­pates in the Fed­er­al Avi­a­tion Administration’s ASSURE pro­gramme and the BEYOND pro­gram to advance com­plex BVLOS UAS oper­a­tions in the US Nation­al Air­space Sys­tem.

As part of the BEYOND Pro­gram, Iris has so far part­nered with four lead par­tic­i­pants — the City of Reno, Kansas Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alas­ka Fair­banks (ACUASI) and the Choctaw Nation of Okla­homa. Iris had pre­vi­ous­ly part­nered with each of these lead par­tic­i­pants in the FAA’s UAS Inte­gra­tion Pilot Pro­gram (IPP) which con­clud­ed in Octo­ber 2020.

You can lis­ten to Damush talk about Iris Automa­tion’s detect-and-avoid soft­ware, when he was a guest on the eVTOL Insights Pod­cast.