Iris Automation has been granted a second waiver for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) autonomous operations on behalf of the City of Reno, a participant in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) BEYOND programme, by utilising its Casia G ground-based solution.

The approval follows the award of a waiver for Iris Automation on behalf of the City of Reno’s Fire Department using Casia X for autonomous flights, which allows the operator to fly without the need for visual observers or the Remote Pilot in Command to maintain visual contact with the drone. 

The BEYOND programme is designed to assist the FAA in establishing safety and performance standards for BVLOS operations by working with a diverse array of industry and public stakeholders. 

Gabrielle Wain, VP of Global Policy and Government Affairs at Iris Automation, explained: “Casia technology provides a critical safety layer, by helping to enable the integration of uncrewed aircraft into our national airspace. 

“This latest approval to fly BVLOS using Casia G gives operators looking to perform remote and one-to-many operations a solution to mitigate the risk of mid-air collisions, without having to use human visual observers, a critical step for the economical scaling of small UAS BVLOS missions.”

In May 2018, the City of Reno was selected by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) as one of nine state, local and tribal governments to participate in the FAA UAS IPP. The UAS IPP worked with nine public-private partnerships to implement and study specific drone applications across the United States in an effort to advance the safe integration of drones into the nation’s airspace.

Under the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (IPP), Iris Automation conducted a live drone flight demonstration for the City of Reno’s Fire Department of its Casia onboard Detect-and-Avoid (DAA) collision avoidance system in 2020.

Casia G uses Iris Automation’s patented ‘Detect and Avoid’ technology to create a stationary perimeter of sanitised, monitored airspace, enabling UAVs to perform work safely by providing awareness of intruder-piloted aircraft to manoeuvre UAVs to safe zones. Casia G does not require integration into the aircraft, thereby preserving payload for sensors or packages while providing a greater choice of aircraft. 

Its ground-based placement gives organisations greater flexibility in the ability to establish permanent, sanitised air space and in the future to change locations quickly simply by relocating Casia G. By providing a sanitised ‘bubble’ of airspace, it can also support an operator to fly multiple drones in the future. It provides extensive real-world, operational learning in the field to help inform regulatory recommendations.

In January, Doosan Mobility Innovation (DMI) signed agreements with Iris Automation and Drone America to pursue its hydrogen fuel cell technology to help enhance scalable systems for long range, autonomous BVLOS UAS operations.